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A Late Night Guide to Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest in New Orleans may be the main event, but the music and party doesn’t stop there. Check out our guide to the best after-hours music shows.

Kermit Ruffins. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

While being a New Orleanian means inherently having an aversion to planning anything until two hours before, the Jazz Fest lineup is out and that means the late-night shows have started pouring in. Locals know, but all of you traveling to the Crescent City for your first Jazz Fest season need to be aware that sometimes the after parties and late-night shows that follow the actual festival are where you can find your favorite artists letting loose and collaborating with their New Orleans friends and musical colleagues.

Our favorite lineups that return each year include the Midnight Preserves series at Preservation Hall with proceeds benefitting their foundation which supports jazz education among other excellent causes. The Howlin’ Wolf and Tipitina’s will begin rolling out their programming soon enough and new kids on the block The Music Box Village will be sure to please again this year with their alternative venue and lineup.

To help you plot your post-Fairgrounds musical adventures, here are some of our best bets for music outside the Fest from Wednesday, April 25 through the wee hours of Monday, May 7.

Post-Jazz Fest Shows

Wednesday, April 25

Kick off your fest with the growingly popular Wednesday At The Square weekly series. The Deslondes open for Big Sam’s Funky Nation at Lafayette Square in this locally-based seasonal lineup. Hosted by the Youth Leadership Council, the shows are completely free to the public and will get you in the perfect mood for the rest of the week.

Thursday, April 26

‘Twas the night before Jazz Fest and all through New Orleans people were resting. NOT. Birmingham based St. Paul and The Broken Bones returns to New Orleans featuring Paul Janeway, Browan Lollar on guitar, Jesse Phillips on bass, drummer Andrew Lee, Al Gamble on keys and Allen Branstetter on trumpet. They take over the Joy Theater at 8:00pm.

The Joy Theater hosts a handful of live music shows during Jazz Fest. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Friday, April 27

Missed St. Paul the night before? Not to worry, the play at the Joy Theater again tonight following by a (very) late night show from experimental world fusion and electronic music group Beats Antique out of Oakland accompanied by the Preservation Hall horn section. Need something a little bit earlier in the evening? Not to worry, local favorite Sasha Masakowski plays at 5:00p.m. at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Saturday, April 28

It’s the end of a long day of festing and you want to sleep and nurse your farmer’s tan (read: sunburn) but don’t sleep on Anders Osborne and Rebirth Brass Band kicking off Saturday night at 9:00p.m. at the Howlin’ Wolf. Didn’t fest today? Well then I’m sure you went to see the Maggie Belle Band killing it in Palmer Park, right?

Sunday, April 29

Local New Orleans boys Flow Tribe are due to rock out the crowd at Tipitina’s tonight. With the self-described backbone-cracking music, they are sure to help you close out your first Jazz Fest weekend just right.

Monday, April 30

Tonight is the night to post up at One Eyed Jacks in the heart of the French Quarter. John Medeski takes over, playing first with his Jazz Fest super group Frequinox that features Robert Walter of Greyboy Allstars, Stanton Moore and Rob Mercurio of Galactic and Donald Harrison of the world-renonwed Headhunters. Don’t go anywhere because once they finish their set, NeonMedeski takes the stage with MonoNeon, Robert Walter, Daru Jones of Talib Kweli, Skerik from Les Claypool and Garage a Trois, and DJ Logic.

If that doesn’t sound like your kind of party, take a night to check out Palmer Park—who will be graced with the presence of Organized Crime, Noelle Tannen, and Alex Massa’s Fat Trio featuring Nth Power drummer Nikki Glaspie, Wil Blades, and Brad Walker on trumpet.

Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Tuesday, May 1

As far as we’re concerned, there is only one place to be on Jazz Fest Tuesday and that is at the Maple Leaf Bar watching Rebirth Brass Band do what they do. The band spends a large portion of their year touring and playing around the country (and the world) and yet, they make it back every Tuesday to play their hometown gig.

Wednesday, May 2

Head back to Lafayette Square to see Amanda Shaw sing her heart out as well as Trumpet Mafia rock your ears and your world. Featuring up to 20 trumpet players on stage at one time, the pure magnitude of what is happening will shake you to your core in the most Jazz Fest-y way possible.

There is another show. The Radiators have reunited to bring you their classic New Orleans rock and roll sound. The show is officially sold out, however, if you keep your eyes peeled you may be able to find last minute tickets.

Thursday, May 3

New York based funk band Lettuce is returning to the Joy Theater tonight and the one and only DJ Soul Sister will be joining them onstage for what is sure to be one of the most insane collaborations we are to see during this Jazz Fest season. Show starts at 8:00pm. Still not tired? Don’t worry, The New Mastersounds are bringing their 2018 tour to New Orleans just in time to close out Local’s Thursday.

Friday, May 4

You may as well pitch a tent in front of the Joy Theater on Canal because you’ll need to be back there yet again tonight. The New Mastersounds return for a second night preceeded by New Orleans’ own Galactic and the world-famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Meanwhile, back at the Howlin’ Wolf, the Annual Bayou Rendezvous takes place for the 16th year in a row. An all-night event that benefits the Musicians’ Clinic, the event features the New Orleans Suspects with the Bonerama Horns, Dr. Klaw with the Shady horns (Eric Krasno of Lettuce and Soulive, Adam Deitch of Lettuce, Pretty Lights, and Break Science, Nigel Hall of Lettuce, Nick Daniels III and Ian Neville of Dumpstaphunk, Eric “Benny” Bloom, Eric Krasno, and Ryan Zoidis of Lettuce and Soulive), The New Orleans All-Stars, Polrhythmics, Butcher Brown, Southern Avenue, Space & Harmony and the Nolarado Get Down. The whole shebang closes out at 6AM with a sunshine breakfast jam featuring Ideateam and Brooker D and the MFs.

Saturday, May 5

This is it, the home stretch! Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe takes the early show at the Joy Theater. Grammy Winner Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen with Nigel Hall bring the funk to The Maple Leaf. Turkuaz will give you wings at Tipitina’s during their tribute to Paul McCartney and Wings featuring Denny Laine. Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard are coming in hot back at the Howlin’ Wolf. Also performing Saturday night is Naydja Cojoe, Nayo Jones, and Mykia Jovan at the Jazz & Heritage Center. They will perform both separately and together during their two free sets at 9:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 6

The last day of Fest. “Is this real?” you may be asking. You’ve somehow made it through and your very last shows are upon you before you crawl into bed where you’ll stay for the next two weeks remembering the crawfish bread and the muddy Fairgrounds. But how will you send off the marathon that is the 2018 Jazz fest season?

You can hit Tipitina’s for a super jam made up of Dumpstaphunk, the Nth Power, and DJ Soul Sister. Greyboy Allstars fill the late-night set to continue on the evening there. Recent Grammy award winners Lost Bayou Ramblers will be taking the stage at Maple Leaf Bar for what is sure to be the most raucous celebration of hometown love we’ve seen for this band yet.

Head down to the French Quarter to catch Eric Lindell at One Eyed Jacks or take in some classic brass band vibrations with the Hot 8 Brass Band at the Howlin’ Wolf Den. No matter what you choose, and what night you choose to do it, you won’t miss out on what many New Orleanians call the best time of the year. Welcome, welcome back, and welcome home.

To see what else is out there, check out your full list of options on the WWOZ Livewire or

Katie Sikora graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Visual Journalism and worked as Photo Editor at The Peninsula Pulse in Door County, Wis., Media Strategist for Levy Restaurants in Chicago, Ill., and an Archivist at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La. before pursuing her namesake photography business shooting everything from shark tagging research to vodou ceremonies and—you guessed it—weddings! Her photographs have been published by The Chicago Sun-Times, Gambit, The Times-Picayune, RedEye Chicago, The New Orleans Advocate, Houseshow Magazine, Antigravity Magazine, In The Bite Magazine, Thrillist, CBS Chicago, NBC Chicago, and the World Wildlife Fund amongst others. She is the creator and director of The Sexism Project, an ongoing portrait and interview series featuring the stories of real women in real industries experiencing real sexism.

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