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VIP Tickets - Sorry for a repeat terrible at searching

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  • VIP Tickets - Sorry for a repeat terrible at searching

    Okay so I am sure this has been asked a few hundred times before but I cannot seem to word it on search in a way to find posts on this. So here goes again...

    Complete Newbie to the fest here. This year will be our first time. Decided to splurge and get VIP tickets. Figure until I figure things out there it will make it a little easier. Now.. drum roll please.. the question asked by 1000 newbies like me.. which VIP tickets are best? We are looking at Grand Marshal or Big Chief but cant decide (and need to soon!) I like to be up front and near the action but like to be able to cool off and sit between acts. He likes sitting, good views, but doesnt like to get too crowded in. And is there any significant benefits of one over the other.

    Also, the VIP shuttle bundles all sold out. Is the Jazz Fest express good? Is there a way to get VIP shuttle tix another way? Oops...two questions LOL.

    BTW, did read Swag's site and love it! Gave me great info but need some opinions here for the best first experience :-D
    Last edited by Feirlin; 02-09-2022, 12:13 AM.

  • #2
    I can't answer your questions, but your excitement makes me smile out loud. However you do it, you'll love it. Enjoy!

    JF Express will get you there and back just fine. down


    • #3
      I think you've got a good understanding of the core difference. Grand Marshal gets you up close into a standing room only area without creature comforts. Big Chief gives you private elevated covered seating, but it's not close to the stage.

      That's at the 3 largest stages. Big Chief also adds bleacher seating in the Jazz Tent and Blues Tent, which can be useful when those tents get crowded.

      Both have (separate) hospitality areas; from the descriptions, the Big Chief one sounds a bit nicer.

      Which weekend are you planning on? For 2nd weekend, your decision has been made for you, since Big Chief is sold out (though Krewe of JF may be worth considering as an alternative, similar seating as Big Chief at the largest stage only). 1st weekend, all are still available.

      As far as the Express, where are you staying? The Express downtown pickup locations are the Sheraton on Canal, and Toulouse at the River. If you're near either of those, it's worth considering, but if you're farther away, you'll probably be better off with uber/lyft/taxi or the city bus. In any case, don't buy the Express tickets via the fest website. Grey Line should start selling tickets directly in the next couple of weeks, without the same fees.

      I'm a bit surprised that the VIP shuttle is sold out. Not because it's not worthwhile, but because it seems like this far in advance, they ought to be able to arrange for additional vehicles. I don't remember it selling out in past years, so maybe there's a chance they will yet add more? The Express shuttle doesn't sell out, so there should be no rush to decide.
      Visit my Jazzfest advice site:


      • #4
        We have done both, Grand Marshal and Big Chief, and prefer Grand Marshal because of how close it gets you to the stages at Acura, Gentily, and Congo. They both have nice air conditioned bathrooms. But if you are looking for comfort, shade, seats, and a private bar area, then Big Chief is the better pick for you. It is off to the side and about 50 yards back from the stage. You can still see the performances, and there are big video screens too, but it is a totally different experience than being upfront in the Grand Marshal area. There are plenty of places to sit and find shade throughout the grounds which we search out in between performances; but if you prefer to sit and have shade while watching the performances, then you should pick Big Chief. Hope this helps.


        • #5
          Why oh why cant they have a Grand Marshal with Big Chiefs lounge? Or a Big Chief with Grand Marshals up front access :-) I'm sure thats been asked times again and again!

          So me and the DH are in the strange position of holding 3 VIP passes. I kept waffling a few weeks ago between Big Chief and Grand Marshal and decided to get Big Chief. But the quantity I could buy was only ONE! Turns out I bought the last Big Chief 2nd weekend ticket. Just in case.. pulled from savings and got two Grand Marshal 2nd weekend in case those were going to sell out! (they havent).

          He wants to keep the Big Chief.. hes about comfort and a relaxed listening experience with a cocktail in hand (so Bougie!). I want the Grand Marshal...Im about being right there up front in the music. I dont think if he kept the Big Chief, and I kept the Grand Marshal we could stand together to listen to the music or I could accompany him to Big Chief lounge (although I did read some stages Big Chief can kind of sneak into Grand Marshal area). We want to stand together for some of the music up front.

          We cant keep the 3rd pass.. either have to go all Grand Marshall or figure out how to get another Big Chief or something. I dont know. This is our current big fight in the household HA HA HA (yeah i know, its not a bad fight to have).

          I wonder if we can find a 3rd person who would swap back and forth...although im guessing with wristbands that might be hard. Oh what to do what to do. Suggestions?


          • #6
            "We want to stand together for some of the music up front."

            I think this is the crux of it, but think exactly what that means. Most of the time, most days, except for when the top headliners are performing, you can get pretty close pretty easily. So maybe that's enough? But if you want to be able to see Stevie Nicks or Jimmy Buffett from the first 20 yards, then keep the Grand Marshals.

            Any VIP pass gives you full GA access, so you're not locked into the VIP area. If you have Big Chief, you can still walk up close for a while (GA standing room area). And if you have Grand Marshal, you can still bring a pair of chairs to set up in the back of the GA area, for when you want to take a break and sit, relaxed and comfortable.
            Visit my Jazzfest advice site:


            • #7
              To the OP, I have only done the Big Chief but it sounds like if your husband wants shade and a place to sit (like me!), then BC is the way to go. I don't do well in extreme heat so knowing there is guaranteed shade is important to me. As noted, you are not close to the stage (particularly for the main stage; you are off at an angle) although for the Congo Stage, you pass thru the GM area to get to the BC area. (Nothing will prevent you from staying in the GM area AFAIK...) But a few other random comments:

              - I really found the BC pass to be useful for getting into the Blues and Jazz tents. (If you acquire Jazzfest ADD and decide that you want to split up performances, for acts like Herbie Hancock or George Benson or Los Lobos for example, unless you have the BC pass, you aren't getting anywhere near these tents once their performance starts. (Never had problem with BC pass). I speak from experience here...)

              - From what I could tell, the BC lounge (in an actual building) is nicer than the GM lounge (which is a tent). Neither lounge is real close to any of the main stages so you probably aren't going to either between every set. (We tended to start the day in the lounge and later in the day would buy our lunch and take it back to the lounge but that was about it. Having said this, the BC lounge is very comfortable).

              - We tried shuttle our first year but ended up not using it in subsequent visit. We like to stay on the fringes of the French Quarter (on Rampart) in a hotel that has a kitchenette (all about the leftovers!) and the shuttle just wasn't convenient. (Plus you do your fair share of waiting for it). Especially after the Fest closes for the day, getting a taxi is relatively easy (and probably about the same as Lyft due to surge pricing).

              Whatever you decide, you already made the best decision by doing Jazzfest! Can't wait to come back!


              • #8
                Hey! If anyone is selling their Big Chief VIP tickets for the 2nd wkend, pls msg me…looking for 2. First time going and took too long deciding. Unfortunately I can’t stand for too long periods.