2011 marks the 41st anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest. Since 1970, the festival has brought both music and culture to millions of attendees and has become more of a celebration than a festival. The popularity of Jazz Fest is rivaled only by Mardi Gras in the state, offering regional music alongside popular bands, popular Louisiana cuisine (no carnival food allowed), and both Louisiana and Native American cultural and historical exhibits. With seven stages, seven tents, and a current lineup of over six artists scheduled to appear, New Orleans Jazz Fest 2011 is shaping up to an event to remember.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was originally held in Louis Armstrong Park near Congo Square until 1972, when it was moved to the New Orleans Fairgrounds and Racetrack. The festival was created by the New Orleans Hotel Motel Association in order to raise money to create the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which now owns the festival. Festival Productions, Inc. was contracted to coordinate the event, with owner George Wein putting together an artistic team to supervise production. Similar, yet smaller, jazz festivals were held in New Orleans prior to 1970, and the term Jazz Fest is meant to encompass the unofficial jazz and cultural celebrations that take place in the city during the festival dates. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is also well known for its popular commissioned poster series, featuring participating musicians and created by popular African-American artists.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2011 will be held on two separate weekends, as in past years, and will begin on the weekend of April 29th-May 1st, then will begin again on Thursday May 5th-May8th. New Orleans Jazz Fest 2011 will feature too many booths and tents to list, as well as almost two dozen local musicians including festival favorite Troy "Trombone Shorty" Brown & Orleans Avenue. Popular musicians will include Arcade Fire, Willie Nelson, The Decembrists, Bon Jovi, Robert Plant, and Ms. Lauryn Hill. Attendees to the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are in store for delicious food, numerous crafts, good music, and a better understanding of the city known as "The Big Easy".
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