Backyard Faux Fest
Recreating the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival experience at home
Spring in New Orleans is the best time for festivals and many New Orleanians — especially those who love to visit the city — are sad about the coronavirus pandemic canceling events this year. One event in particular is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
This festival attracts visitors and music lovers from all over the world to the city every April and May.
The cancellation of the festival this year however, doesn’t mean the party has to stop. You can recreate a mini Jazz Fest in your own backyard.
From couples to families, many took to their porches and backyards last weekend to celebrate what would have been weekend one of Jazz Fest — and they did it in style.
Few things are required to recreate the fest at home and we’ve got just what you’ll need.
Obviously, Jazz Fest is all about the music. For over 50 years, the festival has attracted the biggest names in music from Elton John to Lizzo and — what would have been — an epic concert by The Rolling Stones (had lead singer Mick Jagger not fallen ill that year). This year was set to be a fantastic year for music that offered a little something for everyone. A few editors at Renaissance Publishing put together Spotify playlists dedicated to each day of the fest and each performer that would have played that day. Click here to pick your day.
Next to the music, Jazz Fest is all about the food. I myself wait all year long to enjoy crawfish bread, crawfish beignets, crawfish pies — OK, a lot of crawfish — oyster patties, cracklins and more that are only available during the run of Jazz Fest each year. Though we will not be enjoying our favorites at the festival grounds, many of the local food vendors are offering their Jazz Fest creations for you to order, pick up and take back to your faux fest set up. Click here for a list of restaurants offering food just for your Jazz Fest experience.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but there’s something about the vibe and set up of Jazz Fest that just puts me in a good mood. Typically, I don’t like dirt and think, frankly, outside makes people smell, but when Jazz Fest comes around, I don’t care about the mud, the sweat or the heat. It’s all about the setup and enjoying the moment. To recreate this feeling, I suggest gathering a few tarps (if you have them), blankets and towels to set down to “mark your spot” in your yard. Add a couple of lawn chairs to the mix and top off with an umbrella or two to block your skin from the burning sun that accompanies Jazz Fest (most of the time). Kick your off and enjoy the area roped off by the tarps and blankets you’ve set up on the lawn. Don’t b afraid to add a little more make believe into it to further authenticate the experience and repeatedly say “excuse me,” as though you are passing by other group areas on your way to make another food or drink run.
Our Jazz Fest personality quiz asks quiz takers if they usually sport a Jazz Fest T-shirt, Bayou Wear signature pattern or otherwise perfectly plan out their festival attire according to what’s trendy at the moment. It’s imperative, in order to complete your Jazz faux fest with the proper festival attire. I personally like to wear flowy, comfortable garments (à la Stevie Nicks) to allow for dancing and to not get too hot while out in the sun all day. Make sure to dress the part when celebrating your at-home Jazz Fest weekend. I’ve also been known to sport the men’s button-down Bayou Wear Magnolia pattern. It’s cute, flowy and it’s not something I mind getting dirty, as it’s easy to just toss in the wash after your day of festing.
In addition to the ambiance you create, maybe think about adding a little something extra — some lagniappe, if you will — to really get you in the festival spirit. You can create your own Jazz Fest flag, create a mock stage with your outdoor deck or even set up some food and drink stations like the different sections positioned around the festival. Walk over to the strawberry lemonade area while listening to the sounds of our Spotify playlists.
You can really outdo yourself when it comes to a faux fest setup, or you can simply listen to some music with a cold drink and amazing food. Your festival experience is what you make it, whether you’re at Jazz Fest or at home. And remember, we’re all celebrating with you!
Thanks to the McCarty family for sharing their festing at home photos.