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VIP Ticket Update [Feb. 8th, 2019|11:01 am]
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It looks like the Big Chief VIP tickets for first weekend are sold out.

This is a bit of a surprise. Often, VIP doesn't sell out at all, or if it does, it happens in late March or April.  All the second weekend VIPs sold out right away this year, but that demand was driven by access to Rolling Stones Thursday.  I can only speculate that once second weekend Big Chief sold out, other attendees who had no weekend preference but wanted the Big Chief fest experience all purchased the first weekend tickets.

On the chance that this is a trend, if you're considering the first weekend Krewe of Jazzfest VIP - which offers similar seating as Big Chief but onlty at the (main) Acura Stage, and no lounge - you may want to buy that soon. 

Grand Marshal VIP - offering standing only front of stage access - tends to be more driven by the specific bands playing and the fans who want to see their favorites up close.  So there may be less of a rush to buy first weekend Grand Marshal tickets, though if you know that's what you want, you might as well buy them now to be sure.
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Jazz Fest Express Update [Feb. 8th, 2019|08:51 am]
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Gray Line has updated their web page for the Jazz Fest Express shuttle service for 2019.  These are the buses that run from downtown and City Park and drop off inside the festival gates.

The price for this year is $22/person roundtrip from downtown, with two pickup spots:  the Sheraton hotel at 500 Canal St., and the Steamboat Natchez Dock at Toulouse St. and the River.  Personally, I prefer taking the RTA city bus that drops 5 blocks from the fest, for $1.25 each way, but if you're staying near the pickup spots and want to avoid the extra walking, the shuttle may be a good option.

The City Park location costs $16/person, with free parking inlcuded, and is located on Wisner Blvd. north of Filmore.  This may be the easiest solution if you're driving to the Fairgrounds, but since the cost is per person, with a full car, it may be cheaper to pay to park in the neighborhood surrounding the Fairgrounds.

One benefit of the shuttle that gets little attention is that buying a shuttle ticket optionally allows you to also buy a Jazz Fest ticket with no fees.  If bought in advance, that ticket is at the advance price, so the total from downtown including the ticket is $97 ($75+$22) all in.  From City Park, the total is $91.

To purchase, call the phone number on the linked page below.

The shuttle-only ticket can also be bought through Ticketmaster, but please do not do this.  TM adds fees, so instead of $44, two $22 tickets will cost you $58.60.  So the phone is the way to go.

You can also buy the shuttle tickets in person on site the morning of the fest for the same $22/$16, but expect a bit of a line.  And if you're also buying a fest ticket, that will cost $10 extra day-of, since the advance purchase deadline will have passed.

Jazz Fest Express info: https://www.graylineneworleans.com/all/seasonal/jazz-fest-express

Read more about all the transportation options:  http://jazzfest.swagland.com/transport.html
 
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Early Bird Pricing Ends Friday [Jan. 30th, 2019|09:52 pm]
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Just a reminder that ealry bird pricing for general admission Jazzfest tickets ends Friday (Feb 1).

With the early bird, tickets are $70 plus fees.  After Friday, this increases to $75.

Including fees, the early bird prices are:

  • In person at the Smoothie King arena box office, paid with cash: $75.00

  • In person at the Smoothie King arena box office, paid with plastic: $77.25

  • Online via Ticketmaster:  $80.85

For those going to the arena, normal hours are 9 am - 4:30 pm, but the hours are being extended until 5:30 pm on Jan. 31, and until 6 pm on Feb 1.  Parking is available in lot #3.

http://www.smoothiekingcenter.com/events/jazz-fest-tickets

Day-of tickets at the gate will be $85 total.

http://www.nojazzfest.com/tickets/
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Jazzfest hotel update [Jan. 28th, 2019|01:35 pm]
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With the lineup announcement in the books, it's a good time to check out the current hotel situation.  Many years, the best deals are available before the lineup is released, or else in the last minute final weeks or days before the festival.  This year is following that pattern as well.  The sub-$100 bargains that were available for months, from the summer through the Christmas holdiays, are now gone.

These are the two latest opaque results I've heard of.

On Priceline Express yesterday, 2nd weekend, 5/02-06 3.5* CC $180 => Hilton Garden Inn
On Hotwire last week, 2nd weekend, 5/01-06 4* FQB $199 => Sheraton

So, can we do better?  What else is out there?

Below are checks of both weekends, focusing on the most convenient, downtown areas - the French Quarter, Central Business District, and Warehouse/Convention Center area.  As always, cheaper rooms can be found in nearby suburbs, including Metairie, Kenner, and the West Bank.  , Rates are per night for a 5 night Wed-Mon stay; expect higher rates for shorter weekend-only stays, and cheaper if you add on additional weeknights.

First weekend

  • Priceline Express best deals are a 2.5* Downtown for $166, or a 4* Downtown for $176.

  • Hotwire best deals are a 2.5* Downtown/Superdome for $147, a 4* Central/Downtown for $155, and a 3* all-suites Warehouse for $160.

Second weekend

  • Priceline Express best deals are a 2.5* Downtown for $154, or a 3.5* Convention Center for $172.

  • Hotwire best deals are a 2.5* Downtown/Superdome for $159, a 4* Central/Downtown for $189.

Where rates go from here - up or down - is anyone's guess. 

If you do book any of these opaque deals, please email and let me know the dates, rate, and hotel name, so I can share with others.  Thanks!
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Whither Jimmy Cliff and Elvis Costello? [Jan. 26th, 2019|11:24 am]
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Checking in on the Jazz Fest lineup.

When the performers were announced, Jimmy Cliff was listed on the top line for first Friday, April 26, very likely slotted to close the Congo Square stage that day.  His name has now been removed, indicating that his set has been cancelled.  There's been no announcement, nor any indication of the reason.

On the other hand, Elvis Costello was never included on the daily list of performers.  But fest produced Quint Davis mentioned a couple of times, including at the announcement press conference, that he would perform.  One theory had been that he didn't have his own set but would perform as part of the Allen Toussaint tribute, since he and Allen recorded together.  That's still possible, I guess, but this week, NOLA.com reports:

Elvis Costello “is not currently scheduled to appear at Jazz Fest.” That’s the official word from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. And that should settle the matter, except that twice now a source close to Jazz Fest has confidently announced that Costello will be in the lineup.
...
Costello, 64, cancelled tour dates last summer in order to be treated for cancer, but he has since reassured his fans that his health scare has passed.

https://www.nola.com/entertainment/2019/01/is-elvis-costello-coming-to-jazz-fest-2019-maybe.html

Jazzfest is historically taciturn about lineup changes, with public announcements only for the very top headliners.  Lesser names are quietly added or subtracted from the listings without notice.  Earlier this month, though, they did announce the cancellation of Bob Seger, and the addition of Diana Ross as his replacement.

With three months to go and almost 700 bands playing this year, there will undoubtedly be additional changes, as bands cancel due to health reasons, visa issues, or unexpected scheduling conflicts.  I'll do my best to post them as they are discovered.
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Ticket delivery update [Jan. 24th, 2019|05:42 pm]
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For those lucky enough to score tickets for Rolling Stones day, if you selected physical delivery (UPS or USPS), those tickets are shipping now.  If you haven't received your tickets by the end of next week, I'd give Ticketmaster a call.

If you ordered by phone, that ticket order will not show up in your Ticketmaster.com account, so don't worry if you don't see it.  As long as your credit card charge has posted, your order should be fine.

In other ticket news, the annual Jazz Fest Gala has sold out.  That's rare, but like the Brass Pass, the Gala ticket included an option to buy a Stones day ticket, and surely that's what drove the unusually high demand.
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Threadhead Jazzfest Raffle soliciting donations [Jan. 24th, 2019|05:37 pm]
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Every year since Hurricane Katrina, a group of die-hard Jazzfest fans called the Threadheads (I am proud to call myself a member) have raised money for New Orleans charities with a Jazzfest themed raffle.  And now we are back for year number 14.

The 2019 version of the raffle is currently soliciting donations of raffle prizes.  For legal and compliance reasons, all prize donations for this year's raffle must be pledged via a donor form by February 20, and the items must be sent to by the raffle coordinator by February 28.

Popular prizes include any items appealing to Jazzfest fans (posters, t-shirts, memorabilia), to music lovers (CD's, collectibles),or  to New Orleans visitors (concert tickets, gift certificates), as well as travel prizes (airline tickets, hotel stays), artwork, jewelry, wine, and books.  Prizes big and small are welcome. 

Tickets will be sold for the donated prizes in late March or April, with the drawing held before Jazzfest.

Any items you are able to donate would be greatly appreciated.  The raffle is run under the auspices of the 501(c)3 Threadhead Cultural Foundation, and all prize donations are tax deductible at the ful declared value.

For more info, and the the donation form, visit
http://threadheadraffle.com/.
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Stones Day is sold out [Jan. 18th, 2019|09:11 pm]
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Tickets for the Rolling Stones day at Jazzfest went on sale today (Friday) at 10 am.  Demand was high.  By around 11:30, the day was sold out, imcluding both general admission tickets for that day as well as VIP packages for second weekend.

For those trying to buy online, if you weren't on by 10 am, you weren't getting tickets, and even some folks who were on at the beginning found themselves shut out after over an hour in the online waiting line.  Yesterday, I had advised trying multiple sales channels, and that turned out to be good advice.  As late as 10:30 and 11:00, while web sales remained very backed up, people who called Ticketmaster by phone were able to get connected immediately and complete their purchases.  Something to remember for the future, if Jazz Fest has more days with ticket limits.  Chalk one up for old school technology, I guess.

Single day tickets for the other days of Jazzfest rermain available.  These are not limited and won't sell out, though there is a $5 price increase after Feb 1.  All VIP packages for first weekend also remain available, though supplies are limited.  In typical years, these sometimes sell out in late March or April.
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Diana Ross added [Jan. 18th, 2019|09:02 pm]
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Jazzfest reports:

Diana Ross, one the most iconic performers in American music history, has just been added to the 50th anniversary lineup. Ms. Ross will make her first-ever appearance at Jazz Fest on Saturday, May 4.

This is the slot opened up when Bob Seger was canceled, so expect her to close the Gentilly stage while Dave Matthews is headlining Acura.
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Ticket Update, What to Know for Friday [Jan. 17th, 2019|10:17 pm]
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Brass Passes have now sold out for 2019.  Those who purchased them and opted in will get an email in a couple of weeks with a code that can be used to buy an equal number of tickets for Stones Day (even if the Stones tickets sell out before then).

There were long lines early at the Superdome today for the Louisiana-resident presale.  Friends who arrived at 7 am got their tickets at 11 am.  As of early afternoon, the lines were somewhat shorter and tickets still available, and the wristbands to buy lasted until 5:30 pm.  The presale allotment was about 10,000 tickets, so plenty should remain for the general sale.

For everyone else, general sales start via Ticketmaster at 10 am CT Friday.

  • Stones Day general admission tickets and second weekend VIP packages may sell out quickly.  For those, you'll want to try purchasing right away.

  • First weekend VIP demand should be more typical, and those should be available for weeks to come.  Other day GA tickets are not limited.  So for these, there's no need to purchase right away.

  • For Second Thursday GA, there is a limit of 2 4 tickets, so if you need more, make sure you have multiple people ready to purchase.  At least as of now, there is no limit shown for the VIP tickets.

  • For best chances online, you'll want to have the event page loaded a few minutes before 10.  When sales start, everyone will be randomly ordered into a waiting line.

  • You can increase your chances by using more than one approach.  Log onto Ticketmaster.com, load up the Ticketmaster phone app, and even try the phone (number on the linked page below).  On your computer, try separate browsers (e.g., both Chrome and Firefox).  Then purchase via whichever method gets in first.

  • I don't know the fees that will be added for GA, but my guess is about $30/ticket, so expect $215+ total per ticket.

  • Some of you may still have unused $2.25 discount vouchers from the class action lawsuit a few years ago.  If so, you should be able to use these for your purchase.  You can view these at ticketmaster.com, under My Account and then look for the "Active Vouchers" link.  You can use up to two per order (not per ticket).  You'll want these codes copied off before you start the purchase process so they are handy when you get to checkout.  Saving $4.50 on a $400+ purchase may not seem like much, but every little bit helps.

Fest ticket info page:  http://www.nojazzfest.com/tickets/

Ticketmaster Jazzfest page:  https://www.ticketmaster.com/new-orleans-jazz-and-heritage-festival-tickets/artist/1100440

Edited Thursday morning to show updated ticket limit, now showing 4.
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