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NEW ORLEANS, La. -- In just a few hours the Fair Grounds will open its gates to begin the 45th year of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which always includes great music, good food, and tons of art from local artists.

For decades now, Jazz Fest has grown tremendously, from a local hit to an international tourist sensation.

Friday, the first official day of Jazz Fest will feature some of the best music you can put on a stage such as Santana, Public Enemy, the Avett Brothers, Irvin Mayfield, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Brass-a-Holics, and Gregory Porter, just to name a few.

Some of the best food from the area will also be available so you will just need to prepare for an all day music and food event.

However, before you come to the fair grounds, there are a few housekeeping rules as to what kind of items you can and cannot bring inside of the festival.

Items you should NOT bring to Jazz Fest:

  • Pets
  • Glass
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Large furniture
  • Bikes
  • Weapons
  • Drugs

Items you CAN bring to Jazz Fest:

  • Small bags and backpacks
  • 12-pack or smaller soft coolers
  • Single, collapsible chairs
  • A blanket (6X8)

Transportation to the Jazz fest is also something you'll want to be informed on, and festival organizers encourage festival goers to take some type of taxi or public transportation to get to the festival because there is a limited amount of parking in the general parking area on the festival grounds.

There will be plenty of taxis available as well as pedicabs. Taxi cab stands will be located outside of the main gates and clearly marked as such.

There is also the Jazz Fest Express shuttle which starts running at 10:30 a.m., and pickup locations are located at the Steamboat Natchez dock on Toulouse Street and the Mississippi River, the Sheraton Hotel at 500 Canal Street, and City Park near Marconi Drive and Harrison Avenue. Just follow the signs for parking.

The 45th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival opens Friday April 25 and goes through Sunday, April 27, then the second weekend will open on Thursday, May 1 and goes through Sunday May 4. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day and the festival closes down about 7 p.m. each night, and, of course, it all happens at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, 1751 Gentilly Boulevard. You can get this information and more, including the full schedule of music acts, by clicking here.

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