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Arts & Culture

Chaz Fest: (Jazz) Festivus for the Rest of Us

Chaz Fest is an alternative New Orleans music and food festival held in between the two weekends of New Orleans Jazz Fest, offering an ultra local experience.

Chaz Fest, now in its eighth year, was originally started as a way to showcase and celebrate fantastic local talent that wasn’t invited to perform at Jazz Fest. Many of the bands featured at Chaz Fest strongly represent another side to New Orleans music that many outside the city don’t often equate with New Orleans music. In other words, you aren’t going to find Rebirth Brass Band or the Neville Brothers here, instead you’re going to be treated to the sounds of the Tin Men (who incidentally feature Chaz Fest namesake, Washboard Chaz), the Stacks and Walt McClements’ Lonesome Leash. Don’t worry, just because you may not recognize all of the names, doesn’t mean it isn’t New Orleans music. It is just a different side of New Orleans music.

new orleans festival
Chaz Fest: May 1, 2013

Chaz Fest is traditionally held between the first and second weekends of Jazz Fest as kind of a local’s answer to Jazz Fest during its down time. This year is no different and Chaz Fest will be rocking on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. To complete the “counter-Jazz Fest” feel of Chaz Fest, you can find the festival in a little urban oasis called the Truck Farm on St. Claude (3020 St. Claude to be exact), without the appointments of any glitzy corporate sponsors.

Chaz at Chaz Festival (photo from Photobucket user scribbledaway)
“Washboard” Chaz doing his thing at Chaz Fest! (photo from Photobucket user scribbledaway)

Where Jazz Fest and Chaz Fest do sync up is in great music and food. While the Chaz Fest show times haven’t been announced, you can see the Chaz Fest lineup that is going to bring you 10 hours of non-stop music. As for the food, Chaz Fest has promised pulling in some of the best local fare. The Joint has signed on as a sponsor, so you know you’ll be able to get some great New Orleans BBQ, and with the recent explosion of quality places in the Bywater and nearby, the potential options are almost limitless. Of course, don’t forget that Chaz Fest has the great white whale of festivals, a hard liquor bar!

Tickets for Chaz Fest are $25 online and $30 at the door, so buy early and often. We’ll see you there on May Day!

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