After a two-year hiatus, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival returned to the city, bringing back the music and sending Loyola students flocking to the fairgrounds.
“I think just being able to get out and see live music again is incredible,” Nicole Gerke, environmental studies senior, said.
In a city where music is central to its culture, festival cancellations hit local musicians and residents hard. This year, students are closing off the semester by enjoying Jazz Fest’s live music, fair foods, and cultural craft booths.
Urban and electronic music junior Connor Quinn-Ray visited Jazz Fest for the first time this year, and he said it was refreshing to have live music and festivals back. Quinn-Ray said his father was in town and they were looking for something fun to do in New Orleans, so they ended up selling water to festival goers.
“Seeing people show up to the bigger acts is kinda cathartic and gives you hope about having people come back,” Quinn-Ray said.
Gerke, who was also visiting Jazz Fest for the first time, said she got a free ticket to the festival and thought “why not?” She said that the festival was an opportunity to meet new people and be exposed to new cultures. Gerke said she didn’t stay long because of the hot weather, but she had fun seeing the bands, especially Sunday’s headliner, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Quinn-Ray, on the other hand, said he enjoyed the shows in the Blues tent the most. While he’s been to other festivals in the past, he said he enjoyed the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere of the festival.
While some students enjoyed the music, others, like sociology senior Hope Moody, were drawn to the local crafts, jewelry, and goods tables. Moody said she was especially intrigued by the jewelry, and she bought earrings for graduation at the festival. She said that she’s coming back for the second weekend of Jazz Fest to see Stevie Nicks and buy more art.
“I just love looking at local art and goods,”Moody said. “I think it’s super interesting, and they have a personal touch.”