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Jazz Fest 2019 Questions

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  • Jazz Fest 2019 Questions

    Hi there! We will be visiting New Orleans next spring and will be able to attend the first weekend of the Jazz Fest - our first time in New Orleans and to this festival. So excited! But of course, never having been there, we have a couple questions.
    We are looking at the VIP passes and are wondering if the Big Chief tickets are really worth the price. I do burn fairly easily and having some cover may be nice. Are the seats for Big Chief far back or is the viewing of the stages pretty good from where they are located? We are not the type of people that need to be right up from. But then, we have never had an issue sitting on the ground with a blanket or festival chair. Not sure how strong the sun gets in New Orleans at the end of April.
    We will be staying in the garden district at the Avenue Plaza Resort on Charles Street. I can't seem to find the route for the shuttle. Does anyone know if the festival VIP shuttle goes close to where we are staying? We really don't want to rent a vehicle during the festival. Is there Uber in New Orleans? Would that be a better way to go to and from the festival?
    Lastly, what would you suggest as some "must have" items to take with us to the festival? We usually go to smaller festivals and would love any tips you may have on going to such a large event.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Hi Sue! I have an unofficial fan site for Jazzfest with lots of info for new folks, that you may find useful. http://jazzfest.swagland.com/

    VIP is a judgement call, and of course depends on your finances, but I generally recommend first timers just get GA tickets. The Big Chief stands at the biggest stages are about halfway back on the lawn. Here's a view: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/vip.html

    The sun can be very strong in New Orleans (latitude 30) in the spring. Whether or not you get VIP, put on good sunscreen and wear a brimmed hat. If your skin is especially sensitive, also bring an unbrella for shade.

    You're wise to avoid renting a car. I don't know the exact route for the VIP shuttle, but the website says "downtown", which would generally not include the Garden District. You could take the St Charles streetcar to a downtown stop to get to the shuttle, I suppose. New Orleans does have Uber and Lyft, plus cabs of course. I'd guess a non-surge Uber ride to fest would run you $15-20. Heading home, expect surges and waits. One other option to look at is the RTA #91 city bus, that stops on the corner of St Charles & Jackson where your hotel is, and drops a few blocks from fest.
    Visit my Jazzfest advice site: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SueMcK View Post
      We are looking at the VIP passes and are wondering if the Big Chief tickets are really worth the price. I do burn fairly easily and having some cover may be nice.
      Lastly, what would you suggest as some "must have" items to take with us to the festival?
      Thanks!
      It is our first JF since 1996 (couldn't miss the 50th!).

      Maybe instead of the Big Chief Pass, you could look into Brass Passes. That gives you access to the WWOZ hospitality tent, water, fruit, iced coffee and SHADE. Since you're only attending one weekend, create a post on this message board to see if you can get someone to 'split' them with you; you likely will find someone attending the second weekend and looking for a split.

      Get a parasol!! A cute little parasol and a hat has saved my life in the relentless sun (we usually attend FQF)!

      Must haves include an empty water bottle, handi-wipes, sunscreen, lip balm and tissues. My husband likes to bring a small spritz bottle to cool his face and a bandana to soak and wrap around his neck.

      You've come to the right place for advice! Look at Swag's site and if you have any questions, Threadheads are here to help!

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      • #4
        There is a bus stop on the corner of Jackson Ave and St Charles. When I have gone and also stayed at the Avenue Plaza Resort, I just hopped on the bus, super easy, and it drops off a couple blocks from the main gates. Might be something to consider.

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        • #5
          This will be our 1st Jazzfest and can't figure out whether to buy the VIP shuttle pass or not. I heard that it drops you off at a special gate and you have quicker entry and exit and back on the shuttle with no waiting, is this the case? just need to figure out the shuttle part of it. We will be staying at the Sheraton - so i believe that is a shuttle pickup spot?
          thanks

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ttsotsos View Post
            This will be our 1st Jazzfest and can't figure out whether to buy the VIP shuttle pass or not. I heard that it drops you off at a special gate and you have quicker entry and exit and back on the shuttle with no waiting, is this the case? just need to figure out the shuttle part of it. We will be staying at the Sheraton - so i believe that is a shuttle pickup spot?
            thanks
            There is a difference of opinion on this. Since this is your first Jazzfest, and if the shuttle is right at your hotel, I'd consider it. I took it for many years when I came down by myself by car, thus giving me a safe parking area and easy access. Unless things have changed, the shuttle drops you inside the big gates (but you still have to through the bag check and ticket check}. It always seemed to me to be quicker, but it depends on what time you get there. Those of us who have been doing this a long time have found some shortcuts, and we like to socialize before the gates open. If you are wanting to do nightshows, etc., it seems that being at your hotel relatively quickly would be a big plus.

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            • #7
              I forgot to mention that there is lots of information at Swagland.com .

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              • #8
                Clarifying, there are two separate shuttle options.

                The "Jazz Fest Express" shuttle is available to all. Price is $20/day roundtrip with downtown pickups at the Sheraton and the Natchez dock. At the Fairgrounds, it drops off and picks up in the lot by the "clubhouse turn" adjacent to the Gentilly stage. Service is provided by buses. Capacity is not limited, and lines can get long on busy days, at both ends.

                The "VIP Shuttle" is available to VIP pass holders only. Cost is $165/weekend, so about $41/day. I don't know where all the downtown pickup spots are, but since the Sheraton is the official fest sponsor hotel, I can't imagine that it's not one of them. At the Fairgrounds, the dropoff is in the lot near the Gospel Tent (see map below).
                Website says:
                "The VIP Shuttle will pick up and drop off from downtown New Orleans and allows for special entry into the Fair Grounds. Quantities are limited, so please purchase VIP shuttle tickets before they sell out"

                This service is only a few years old, so I haven't heard reports yet as to whether there are typically waits or not.

                Visit my Jazzfest advice site: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/

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