Cultural Exchange Pavilion

Celebrating the Festival’s History of Cultural Exchange!


Septeto Nacional performing during the CEP Cuba Celebration in 2017

Jazz Fest has been celebrating the multi-cultural makeup of Louisiana’s heritage since its early days, presenting artists from Africa, Europe, The Caribbean and beyond. This commitment culminated with the establishment of the Cultural Exchange Pavilion in 1996, dedicated to the music and culture of Haiti. Over the following two decades, countries and cultures featured at the Pavilion have included Mali, Panama, French Heritage, Brazil, Martinique, South Africa, Haiti, Mardi Gras Indian culture, Native American culture, Belize, and Cuba. 

The 2019 Cultural Exchange Pavilion celebrates the Festival’s history of cultural exchange by bringing back some favorites from the past including Boukman Eksperyans of Haiti, The Bahamas Junkanoos, Crocodile Gumboot Dancers of South Africa, Ilê Aiyê of Brazil, Septeto Santiaguero of Cuba, Jupiter & Okwess of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Northern Cree of Canada. Chouval Bwa Traditionnel of Martinique also returns with its hand-carved man-powered carousel to enthrall riders with the galloping sounds of live chouval bwa music. Adding to the eclectic mix are first-time appearances by groups from throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Canada including 3 L Ifèdé of Benin, Dobet Gnahoré of Ivory Coast, The Bahamas Revue Band, and Vent du Nord of Canada.

Off stage, a selection of the best master craftsmen from the past will present their unique traditions from Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, Cuba and Ghana through live demonstrations.