NEW ORLEANS — The Fair Grounds are just about ready to welcome Jazz Festers back for the first time since 2019. After being canceled in 2020 and twice in 2021, the two weekend-long New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival returns Friday.
People lined up Thursday to purchase tickets in advance.
"The atmosphere, the food, the music, it's just New Orleans. It shows our uniqueness and that's why I love it so much," said Gail Smith who hasn't missed a day of Jazz Fest in 15 years, aside from the years she was forced to miss when it was canceled.
"Every single day, rain or shine," she said.
Visitors like George Dapolito from Maryland are ready to hear great music.
"Jimmy Buffet," Dapolito said.
They are also ready for their favorite Jazz Fest bites that have been missed.
"It's the crawfish strudel," Smith said.
Liuzza's by the Track was closed Thursday getting ready for two busy weekends.
"We're expecting probably one of the largest crowds we've ever seen," said owner, Michael Gonczi.
The festival is the biggest moneymaker for businesses close by.
"It's very, very important to the neighborhood, the businesses around here," Gonczi said.
The gates open at 11 a.m. each day and the festival wraps up at 7 p.m. Single-day tickets are $90 at the door or $80 in advance. On locals Thursday, May 5, Louisiana residents can get in for $50 at the gate.