There’s a lot of music for your money at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but if the $75 at-the-gate ticket price makes your budget sing the blues, check out these free music events around town.
Just like Jazz Fest, both keep to the rhythms of Louisiana festivals, offering arts and crafts, food and some good crowd-watching opportunities.
Wednesday at the Square
The Young Leadership Council’s concert series, which runs through May 18 at Lafayette Square on St. Charles Avenue, sets music against a backdrop of city history.
The square is also the location of Gallier Hall, which dates to 1853 and was the seat of New Orleans government for a century.
The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY: The Honey Island Swamp Band headlines. Hear them here or hear them on Friday, the first day of Jazz Fest, at 2:45 p.m. on the Fais DoDo Stage.
The band mixes country, gospel, blues, boogie, reggae and swamp pop into what it calls Bayou Americana.
Alexis and the Samurai opens.
APRIL 27: You can catch trumpeter Kermit Ruffins at Jazz Fest at 2 p.m. Friday on the Congo Square stage, or wait a few days and catch him free at Lafayette Square. (The Trumpet Mafia opens.) Or as many fans of the quintessentially New Orleans player likely will, you can do both.
Jazz in the Park
THURSDAY: It’s Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers again, this time at Jazz in the Park, held at Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St., the site of the real Congo Square.
King James & The Special Men open.
This series runs through June 2. Hours are 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
APRIL 28: New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, featuring Irvin Mayfield and The N’awlins Johnnys.