Let’s talk for a moment about Jazz Fest etiquette.

There are as many ways to enjoy “The Fest” as there are attendees, but being polite is something we all can do. Look, I know that it’s hot (very hot), and humid, and can be exceedingly crowded, and often dirty and grimy … but, in my opinion, that’s no excuse.

From my experience, the worst aggression takes place on the lawn in front of the Acura and Gentilly stages, often on the most-crowded days at the hottest times. For example, last year my friends and I were camping in the middle of the Acura lawn when one of them came back from a bathroom run at about 3 p.m. with this horrible story: She was walking as carefully as she could though camp sites when she stepped on a man’s blanket; as she was apologizing he spit in her face. That’s right, she was apologizing for stepping on the edge of his blanket and he spit on her.

We can all agree that his reaction wasn’t right, right?

When you’re in tight quarters and sweaty, just remember the lessons you were taught in kindergarten: No pushing, no fighting, watch where you’re going, if you do something wrong apologize immediately … oh, and share.

If we can all remember that everyone is hot, sweaty and grimy (and possibly quite drunk), maybe we can all enjoy the music together – after all, that’s what JF is about: All kinds of people from all over coming together to experience some of the best music in the world.

Finally, if you can’t attend this weekend (or don’t think you could be polite to strangers in those kind of circumstances), you can watch the webcast of JF for Friday-Sunday, May 4-6, on YouTube.

I’d love to read your stories and etiquette tips. What is the worst situation that you’ve seen at Jazz Fest that could’ve been halted by being polite? Or, reversely, what’s the nicest thing you’ve seen someone do for a stranger at the Fest.



If you happen to be attending JF this weekend, I would like to encourage you to seek out the performers below – all of whom are associated with Tulane University:

Thursday, May 3:
Tulane University Jazz Ensemble: 11:25 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Pianist Jessie McBride with The Marlon Jordan Quartet: 12:35-1:25 p.m., Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent

Friday, May 4:
Jim Markway performs with the Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band: 2:55-3:55 p.m., Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage

Saturday, May 5:
New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra including Tulane Bookstore manager clarinetist Larry Jones, and director of planned gifts, pianist Beth Turner: 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m., Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent

Assistant vice-president for student affairs Carolyn Barber-Pierre will be among the stiltwalkers, drummers and dancers with Casa Samba: 12:40-1:25 p.m., Kids Tent

Sunday, May 6:
Associate professor of music, drummer John Joyce Jr. performing with the Louisiana Repertory Ensemble: 12:20-1:15 p.m., Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent

A Living Tribute to Harold Battiste with Jesse McBride, Ellis Marsalis and Germaine Bazzle: 2:05-3:05 p.m., Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent

Matt Sakakeeny interviews Ceasar Elloie: 3-3:45 p.m., Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage