The Who Dat Nation Rally & Music Festival

How about a massive three-day festival to get ready for the upcoming NFL season? Saints fans can rally for the team at what will be the area’s largest pre-game party, the first of its kind. You can join the black-and-gold diehards on the weekend leading to the Saints’ season opener on Monday, September 9, against the Houston Texans at the grounds of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in Metairie, not far from the team’s practice facility on Airline Drive. Here’s the rundown of the festival’s main events, which include a free concert on Friday and two days filled with food, music, rallies, and even a dog parade, on Friday-Sunday, September 6-8.

What: A Tribute to New Orleans Music Legends
When: Friday, September 6, 5-10 p.m.
Where: On the grounds of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center (6400 Airline Dr., Metairie)
Cost: Free (suggested donation $10)

The Who Dat Rally & Music Festival will kick off on Friday, September 6, with a special tribute to the New Orleans Music Legends (presented by the Maple Leaf Bar). Art Neville, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint will all be remembered by the tribute’s participants, whose lineup also has a few legends on its own, including Irma Thomas, Deacon John, and John “Papa” Gros.

The gates will open at 5 p.m., and the music will start at 6 p.m. The James Andrews band plays a special set of New Orleans classics at 7 p.m., and the tribute will kick off at 8 p.m. Tickets are not required, and the event is free though there’s a suggested donation of $10, with all donations benefiting the New Orleans Musician Clinic.

What: The Who Dat Nation Rally & Music Festival
When: Saturday, September 7 (noon – 10 p.m.) – Sunday, September 8 (11 a.m. – 9 p.m.)
Where: On the grounds of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center
Cost: $30-$45 adults; $10-$15 kids

The Rally & Fest continues with a weekend of music on three stages, food, and arts and crafts. A whopping 18 bands are scheduled to perform, including Blood Sweat & Tears, The Guess Who, the Family Stone, George Porter Jr., Cowboy Mouth, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Honey Island Swamp Band, All for One Brass Band, and many more (see the full schedule here).

Then there’s a massive Who Dat Nation pep rally, led by WWL Radio’s Bobby Hebert on-stage along with special guests on both nights. Hebert, by the way, is encouraging Who Dat fans to come dressed as a blind referee.

No fest is complete with food and beverages. Over a dozen restaurants, including Voleo’s Seafood, Copeland’s and Southern Snoball, will be on hand doling traditional New Orleans favorites.

Saturday will kick off with the Who Dat Nation Krewe of Paws Parade and Costume Contest. Judges will pick the best male and female pet costumes at noon, and the parade will begin at 12:30 p.m., led by the All for One Brass Band. You can register on-site for both the costume and the parade.

The kids can check out a Bounce Park specifically set up for the fest in the Children’s Village area. The Greater New Orleans Therapeutic Riding Center is also bringing several horses to interact with the children (no horseback rides though).

Tickets are on sale now, starting at $30 for a one-day, adult general admission ticket and $10 for a one-day ticket for kids 13 to 18 years old. Two-day passes are $45 for adults and $15 for kids.

What: The Guess Who and Blood Sweat & Tears VIP performances
When: Saturday, September 7, 5:30 p.m. (The Guess Who); Sunday, September 8, 5 p.m. (Blood Sweat & Tears)
Where: Jefferson Performing Arts Center Performance Hall
Cost: $60-$90

The two performances by the headlining The Guess Who and Blood Sweat & Tears will take place in the JPAC Performance Hall and require a VIP ticket. Tickets for The Guess Who range from $80 to $90, while tickets for Blood Sweat & Tears range from $60 to $90.