Lady Gaga Is Great, But Here’s Who You Should Really See At New Orleans’ Jazz Fest

Come for the big names–stay for the “little” guys.


It pains me to say this, but Elton John, Alison Krauss, The Who–I’m going to need all of you to fall back for a sec.


The lineup for the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is out and in true music festival form, the acts for each day are incredibly top-heavy. Sure, seeing huge names like John Legend and Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett would be great. But part of the beauty of festivals is discovering someone new: You have a pass for the whole day, people–it’s time to use it effectively.

We’ve pulled out the can’t-miss shows for each day of Jazz Fest’s lineup, focusing on local NOLA favorites and artists out of the mainstream.

Friday, April 24
Earphunk: Fall into the funk of this New Orleans quintet.

Saturday, April 25
Vieux Farka Touré: The son of Grammy-winning great Ali Farka Touré, Vieux’s world music vibe will be welcome respite from the thumping beats pumping from every which way at Jazz Fest.


Sunday, April 26
Henry Butler: Because it’s Sunday and you should be in the church of New Orleans jazz piano legend Henry Butler.

Thursday, April 30
Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns: A punk-pinup look with jazz vocals as sweet as sweet tea, you can’t help but love the contradiction that is Meschiya Lake.

Friday, May 1
Paloma Faith: Like her fellow Brits Duffy and Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith has made an indelible print in soul with that powerhouse voice of hers.


Saturday, May 2
Big Freedia “Queen of Bounce”: If you’re not familiar with New Orleans bounce music, step into Big Freedia’s office.

Sunday, May 3
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue: Never has the trombone had so much swag.

About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.