Summary: an explanation for making a mock “Off Season” homepage for New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. See my demo.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (JazzFest) is a wonderful time to enjoy music (of all types), food (Louisiana specialties), and cultural exchanges. I had longed wanted to visit, and finally did in 2022. Wow. What memories.

Each year in the months leading up to JazzFest (starting in January), the official website is well managed in WordPress to keep fans and the wider public up to date on what is coming. After the fest, the staff takes a well-earned break and puts up a ‘thank you’ image on the homepage.

The official JazzFest homepage, July 2023, nearly 3 months after the recent festival.

What I noticed in this ‘off-season’ is that the website is stuck in a kind of no-man’s land. It’s filled with info that we don’t need (and which is defunct or links to error pages) while void of general info about JazzFest. What’s it like? Who’s performed in the past? What are the repeat, year-to-year features?

Looking at the homepage, you’d be hard-pressed to know it’s even a music festival in Louisiana (seriously, there’s no mention of Louisiana). Where are the proper nouns? Dr. John? The Nevile Brothers… shrimp po’boys?

It is Off-Season mode that I’m interested in addressing.

I figure that the objectives for the site in Off-Season should be to provide general information about the Festival, what info it can about next year’s, and to encourage interactions such as joining a mailing list, following on Instagram, and purchasing merchandise. The audience includes people who are planning well-ahead, have just heard about JazzFest, and those who might wish to volunteer, work, or fend there.

I have made a one-page spec site to demonstrate how I’d lay this out.

First things first, from the top of the page, we put Text stating the dates for next year’s festival. (the dates are baked into the logo image of the official site). The next most important info is the date that the roster gets announced (and tickets go on sale). That exact date is not known, which allows the Foundation to make news when the time comes. This ambiguity goes hand-in-hand with our objective to get mailing list signups. It gives people a REASON to sign up. Here’s how I linked the two:

Next, we tease content from the Instagram feed both to denote what JazzFest is like, and to encourage a Follow. Again, two things going hand in hand.

Next, we can put a “What’s It Like” ( what is it?) section. On the official site, one must go to the menu item “Info” and then “FAQ” and click on “What is JazzFest?” And what shows up is a paragraph of some kind of description.

What we want to do on the homepage “About” section is wow the visitor with some facts, and show pictures and videos. We can also devote content to each of the main festival features: Music & Parades, Food, Cultural Villages, Crafts. A terrific documentary was made a couple years ago, “JazzFest: A New Orleans Story.” We embed the 2 minute trailer as a well-produced summary of what JazzFest is like.


We group the three types of products that we find on the official site for sale. Posters, live recordings, and the new clothing line “BayouWear.”

Info about 2024

Next we make a section of info that can help people already planning for 2024’s Festival. Employment, Volunteering, Journalists… We include hotel information.

Why I Did This

I love New Orleans, and JazzFest. I couldn’t help but notice that their homepage didn’t serve the visitor well in the off-season. Even in the active season, it seems there can be more detailed general information on the homepage. The Festival is filled with so much goodness: Louisiana cuisine, local and international music stars, and staples like the Cultural villages. There’s history, too. Why not tell it how it is and what was.. give us some proper nouns!

The demo ..