Should I Bring My Child to Jazz Fest?

Should I bring my child to Jazz Fest? Is there anything for them “to do?” Why would people bring their children to Jazz Fest?

You know how you feel after long days of walking, watching shows, and standing in line for rides at Disney? You’re tired, hungry, ready for a shower but you’re ready to do it all over again tomorrow? For many, this is the same sentiment many have for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest). There’s nothing better than sitting on a blanket or a chair and sharing 4 or 5 favorite dishes with family and friends while some of the best music is playing in the background. It’s a time of togetherness and experiencing each other in a different environment.

Yes, you should bring your children to Jazz Fest, but just like any other outing, you have to prepare and set realistic expectations.

Will you be able to get close enough to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to have them sweat on you? Maybe, depending on your children’s age but realistically probably not. You can rest assured that they will probably have to use the bathroom just as you hear the intro to your favorite song, and they absolutely can not “hold it” for another 5 minutes. Waiting, camping out at one of the larger stages, can be hard for an adult much less a child in their single-digit years. Take this time to expose them to the many smaller stages where they can let loose, be themselves and have enough room to let their energy out.

The acts that perform on the smaller stages are a lot of fun, oftentimes letting children on stage and encouraging more crowd participation. If you are not camping out at the big stages, you have a chance to experience Jazz Fest the way it was intended, a day full of putting down your blanket for an act or two then picking up your blanket and heading to another stage to see another act that has piqued your interest. The music being performed on these stages can open their eyes to music that is not in their little bubble of life. 

There are some tents that cater to children but do not feel like you need to stick to these tents. I liken this to going out to eat or sitting in the cry room at church. Get your children acclimated to sitting with family and spending time together and compromise on activities that work for adults and children. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

should you bring children to Jazz Fest?

You have to hydrate before you go into the sun just as you would hydrate before a marathon. You are in fact prepping for a marathon and not a sprint. The same goes for your babies, remember to pack a bottle or a sippy cup so that they can stay hydrated, too. You can get away with bringing a few snacks for the kids as well, think snacks that are not for sale at the fest. Fruit is a great snack that will help hydrate as well as fill those bellies. 

Thankfully, you are able to bring in a few bottles of water in an ice chest so take advantage of this and freeze them the night before so that they stay cool throughout the day. The ice chest can be filled with ice and frozen water bottles to enter the grounds then stop by a beverage tent later on in the day and ask them to refill your ice.

Sun and Heat Protection.

Everyone needs sun protection, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are crucial for everyone to stay safe. Although I am an advocate of simplicity, a “bag chair” is now a necessity for our family as we buy the ones with umbrellas or canopies.  

enjoying Jazz Fest as a family

Jazz Fest provides the perfect opportunity for your littles to try something new in the food department. The littles are running around, playing in the dirt, sweaty, stinky and may become adventurous and try something new. Alternatively, if you have a picky eater and you find something that they like, buy one or two extras of their favorite foods so that you have it readily available and you won’t have to stand in a long line later or remember where that particular food booth is located. Pack an empty lunch kit to store favorite foods or as a to-go container to bring home your 5 extra meat pies, who wants to cook or drive after a fun day at Jazz Fest?

Growing up in New Orleans attending festivals such as Jazz Fest is one of the things that I am so thankful for and am happy that I am able to experience with my children. My parents taught me the ropes and now I’m passing them down to mine. 

Having few expectations but being fully prepared will set your family up for success, and ensure making memories that no one will soon forget.

Kathy Magri
Kathy is a Metairie native who lives in River Ridge with her husband, Mike, her children, Finn and Nina, and her 3 pups and a cat, Rex, Beau, Hans & Toula. She enjoys double dating with friends on Friday or Saturday nights and brunching with her girlfriends. A lover of all people (particularly babies and children), she is usually volunteering in various organizations and supporting her children in their extracurricular activities. You may catch her reading about World War II or listening to an assortment of music. An avid traveler, she can be found in her parents’ homeland, San Pedro, Belize, enjoying time with family, snorkeling, riding golf carts around town and eating the best food in the world.


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