Is the food any good?
Are you kidding?
I'd travel to New Orleans for the Festival, even if there were no music.
The food is that wonderful. Some personal favorites:
I'm a cheeseburger and fries kind of guy. Any more ordinary food?
A little. For less spicy or less exotic tastes, try the Poulet Fricassee (grilled chicken on a stick) or the Cochon De Lait Po Boy (roast pork on a roll, but so much better than that simple description makes it sound). The fried chicken at the Fest is excellent. Also available: fried shrimp, sausages.
Popcorn, peanuts, and ice cream are available from carts scattered around the Fairgrounds.
The Kids food area serves stuff like PB&J, mac & cheese, and fruit salad.
The full food list is usually posted to http://www.nojazzfest.com/foodcrafts/food.php a few weeks before the Fest. If it's not up yet, just check last year's - 95% of the vendors and selections return each year.
Any food you don't recommend?
Even the lesser items are usualy pretty good, especially by non-New Orleans festival standards.
Any vegetarian food?
Vegetarian items are marked with an asterisk (*) on the official food list.
I'm on a low carb diet? Any suggestions?
New Orleans is the wrong city to visit when you can't eat many carbs. So many of the classics are made from or served with rice, much of the seafood is breaded, and many of the dishes and sauces are made from a flour and butter roux. And for consistency and quality, I'll match the bread in New Orleans up against any city in the USA. But the selection at Fest is big enough that there are some wonderful items that seem suitable for low-carbers: Oyster Artichoke Soup, Poulet Fricassee, Jama Jama, Greek Garden Salad, Oysters on the Half Shell, Boiled Crawfish, Spinach Artichoke Casserole, Oyster Rockerfeller Bisque, Pecan Catfish Meuniere, and Cracklins. Other fairly low carb items include Fried Oyster Spinach Salad (oysters are breaded), Crawfish Remoulade (salad with crawfish and a suspect, somewhat sweet dressing), Chicken & Tasso (ask for no rice). And of course, you can always get a Po Boy and toss the bread.
I still can't find anything I can eat!
Outside food is allowed. Occasionally security may tell you otherwise, if so, just walk away, wait a minute, and then try a different line.
What does the food cost?
In 2016, the most common price point was about $5-7. Many po boys were a little more. A few items were cheaper, and some combo plates were more..
What drinks do they sell?
The beverage booths, scattered throughout the Fairgrounds, sell soda (Coca Cola products) in 16 ounce plastic bottles for $4; water 20 ounces for $3; plus beer: Miller Lite, High Life, Coors, and Coors Lite at $6 for a 12 ounce can; and Blue Moon, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy and Redd's Apple Ale in 16 ounce cans for $8. (2016 prices and selection).
Near the Jazz, Gospel and Blues tents, and in the Grandstand, booths sell 16 ounce draft beers: Miller Lite for $6. The draft stand at the back of the Lagniappe Stage courtyard sells Budweiser for $6.
For the beer afficianado, also on draft near the tents and Grandstand are Abita Amber, Pilsner Urquell, and Blue Moon IPA for $7. The draft beers vary by stand, so if you don't see what you want, try a different stand.
You'll also find roaming vendors selling 16 oz plastic bottles of Miller Lite & Coors Lite for $7.
For wine drinkers, a couple of separate booths around the Fairgrounds sell Sutter Home pinot grigio and merlot ($6) and Sofia champagne ($9).
These are all reported 2016 selections and prices.
Is there a limit on how many beers they'll sell you at a time?
No. Some folks will buy a dozen or more cans at a time. They'll even give you a free box to carry them in, and if you tip, toss in a few blocks of ice to keep 'em cold.
Do they sell margaritas, hurricanes, or anything else stronger?
There are Daquiri booths selling frozen Daquiris (red), plus frozen margaritas. $7 for a 12 ounce cup (2011 price). That's the only hard liquor drink available at the Fairgrounds.
Do the food booths sell drinks?
Not soda or beer. A few sell their own specialty drinks, such as flavored iced teas. The Cafe Du Monde booth (on the concrete, near the Gospel tent) sells hot and iced cafe au lait (and beignets, of course). After a late night on the town, an iced au lait is the perfect way to start the morning at the Fest. Also look for regular and mandarin orange iced tea, and regular and strawberry lemonade.
Is there any free water available?
I don't generally like paying for water either. There are water fountains adjacent to the ponds at either end of the infield, but it's not real good. Although several folks have assured me that it's tap water, it almost seems like you're drinking pond water. I mean, you can actually see the pipes from the fountains going down into the ponds. In any case, it's not cold. It's drinkable, but not too good.
A better idea is to use the water fountains inside the Grandstand building. The one near the Mens room usually works. It's out of the way, especially if you're at the Acura stage, but the water is colder and cleaner tasting.
Can I bring in beverages?
You are allowed to bring in only factory-sealed bottles of water, in quantities for personal use. Other than that, outside beverages are not allowed.
Page last updated May 3, 2016