Jazz Fest? No Thank You!

jazzfest-nopeLast weekend, it began.

Hordes of people descended.

They got wet.

They got muddy.

They paid handsomely for the privilege.

And they liked it?

The crowds will do it again this weekend.

Of course, I’m talking about Jazz Fest.

I feel like I must be the only person in New Orleans who recoils at the very idea of Jazz Fest.

Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I love beer. I love food.

I’ve been to giant music festivals and had a fantastic time, so I’m not anti-festival.

In 1997, I attended a huge music festival in England called V97. I drank overpriced beer and ate overpriced food, and even got stuck in a downpour. It was an adventure! We were all in it together!

But there’s nothing about Jazz Fest that appeals to me. Not the music – the bands I like have either broken up or are more likely to play at small venues. I don’t like jazz. I don’t dance. It’s not just Jazz Fest, either. People who come to visit ask where to listen to live music, and I give them a blank stare, shrug my shoulders and suggest, “Frenchman Street?”

Some things about music festivals never change...like overpriced cups of beer!
Some things about music festivals never change…like overpriced cups of beer!

I don’t want to shell out my hard-earned money for expensive tickets and parking to get there. And even if I did make it that far, I’m way too cheap to enjoy beer that costs more than $6 a pint.

I’ll happily pay that at my neighborhood pub, while sitting outside on a spring evening with friends, but in a hot crowd of strangers, being subjected to what I consider an aural assault? No thank you.

I’m the same with food – put me in a restaurant, and I’ll order whatever looks good, but put me in front of a row of food stalls, and I hem and haw and ultimately decide to keep my money in my pocket.

Before you say, “but Pam, you have to at least try it,” let me tell you that I have. About ten years ago, I went with some friends. I had free tickets. We were even seated in a beer tent, so not only did I have free booze, but I also wasn’t in the full sun with the sweaty masses. I still hated it.

I honestly just do not see the appeal, but I am kind of envious of people who do. It seems like it must be fun. Maybe one day I’ll go again. I’ll imagine that I’m sitting on the grass on a hill in the English countryside. I’ll put on my headphones and play the perfectly curated Pandora station of Britpop that I’ve created and pretend that I’m 22 again, drinking warm beer out of a paper cup and loving it.

Pam Kocke
My name is Pam, and I live in Algiers Point with my husband George and my identical triplets Linus, Oliver, and Miles. I work from home as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. I enjoy reading and photography and sewing (and blogging!)


  1. You’re not alone! I also opt out of Jazz Fest in that it always turns into being an endeavor, more so than an adventure. The very commercial nature of it makes the bottom line visible everywhere via price and advertising, the sound is for the most part horrible (I’m a sound engineer), although Congo Square has decent sound. I’ve seen some of my favorite acts at Jazz Fest in the past, but ultimately came away disappointed in the overall experience. In addition, the very enclosed nature of the Fairgrounds makes one feel tapped, limited shade and trees, lots of heat-stoked unhappy people mean mugging you. I had a friend wigout on shrooms there about 10 years for these very reasons…but that’s another story 😀

  2. …and the point of this post was?
    If you don’t like jazz fest, don’t go. It’s sad that you can’t make your own fun anymore- but that’s your own problem.

    • I believe the point of the post was to tell everyone that she doesn’t like Jazz Fest.
      If you don’t like the content of a blogpost don’t read it. It’s sad that just because you don’t agree with what is written doesn’t mean that others don’t want to read it.

      Go to Jazz Fest, have fun. Many do. Many also stay the hell away.


  3. I’ve been to Jazz Fest once.

    It was crowded, hot, and muddy. My tickets were free, but with parking and food, it was really expensive. And with all the people there, I couldn’t find my friends.

    It ranks as one of the worse days of my life.

  4. It is, indeed, usually hot.Quite often raining causing the inches deep, shoe sucking mud. It is horribly crowded and yes, everything is overpriced. I always lament no shade trees and always wonder why it hasn’t been moved to the cool beauty of City Park. But,I keep going back.There is a certain magic that happens,despite all of the above, when a band gets in a groove and brings the crowd right along with them. Perfect strangers smile that “oh yeah!”smile at each other and dance in a sea of immediate bliss. It may be short lived,but for just that moment in time, music does what it does best…elevates the masses above the mundane.


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