Last night we showed you a glimpse of the Garifuna Collective performing at the 48th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, tonight we have part 1 of the New Orleans feature series.

Overall, 28 artists including bands and cultural demonstrators were invited to participate in this festival, and most of them are still there and will perform next weekend. Now, what is so newsworthy about this Jazz fest? And what role does Belize play? That's what Courtney Weatherburne found out in New Orleans this weekend.

Courtney Weatherburne
"If the music you hear in the background sounds familiar, it should, because that's the Garifuna Collective. We have seen them perform at shows all over the country and at venues in New York and L.A. But today, they are not performing at any regular event, they are here at the 48th New Orleans Jazz Festival, one of the largest music festivals in North America."

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Over 500,000 people from across the world attend the Jazz Festival every year. And this year is no different. The entire area is about a 2 mile loop - the size of a horse track. For this 2 weekend festival, about 500 bands are scheduled to take 12 different stages.

The Acura stage is where all the top acts perform including American Rock Bands Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and musical icon Stevie Wonder, among so many other big names.

From very early in the day, festival goers mark their spots with home designed flags, large umbrellas and makeshift chairs to immerse themselves in this mega music festival - one that is the pride of the native New Orlean-eans.

Courtney Weatherburne
"What does this Jazz fest mean for you guys here in New Orleans?"

Allison Young, New Orleans
"What it means for me is it's heaven on earth for 7 days. I love Jazz fest."

Johnny Trask, New Orleans
"Honestly, I have been going since I was just a teenager, when there was just a few tiny booths, and it has grown exponentially, it is just massive, international, people come from all over the world, the food is amazing, the artists are amazing."

Maggie March, New Orleans
"I don't know where else you can go and find the quality of musicians in one spot so inexpensively and just have a wonderful time with everybody."

Ruth Gordon, Mississippi
"Every year honey, it's the music, the music keeps you going and we just party like crazy over here. I love it...Yes."

And all of that love and enthusiasm is contagious on the festival grounds.

Everywhere, the magic of music beckons, whether it's the new sound of a local band or that familiar thump of rap music from Mystikal

While the richness and diversity of music is the main attraction, there are rows and sections of booths and displays.

Where handmade purses and handbags are sold different styles of shoes and paintings among so many other items and souvenirs

But right in the center of all that excitement …Is Belize - featured at the Cultural Pavilion Tent.

Beyond this sign, what was once a dream for Belizean artists, became a reality.

The crowd gathered beneath Belize's tent with cameras and phones ready to capture the Garifuna Collective, while others huddled near the stage with similar anticipation they started off slow and easy with that tribute to women. But later, the crowd came alive.

While Garifuna music is new to most of the audience, being on this stage along with other Belizean artists, at an event of this scale is like nothing the band has ever experienced.

Al Ovando, Bass Player, Garifuna Collective
"Having the Belize Pavilion is a really good experience for us, to meet with the other Belizean artist and musicians, to be in the same area at the same time. It is a good feeling to share the moment and experience with everybody, it is different from anything before."

Al Ovando, Bass Player, Garifuna Collective
"For the group it is what we practice to do, what we train to do and live to do, as musicians and artists. We represent Belize and all the different people from Belize, the country. At the same time if we can do it through music then that is a good thing because we are all musicians and artists. That's one of the only thing we could do to represent the country and for everybody here it's a great experience and a great time."

And they got to represent Belize on one of the big stages: The Jazz and Heritage Stage. For this band, this experience is more than the massive crowds, the wild cheering, and applause - it is the possibility of a promising musical future

Al Ovando, Bass Player, Garifuna Collective
"It is the best opportunity, the best way, besides all the people, you have scouts here, you have agents here listening and we hope something goes through not only for us but for the other groups from Belize."

And that hope lies in our Belizean flag that dances in the New Orleans gusts, in the mass of strangers who have found new love in our music, but more importantly it lies in what the band represents, in its cultural DNA, and that singular Belizean boil up.

Tune in tomorrow night for part two of our New Orleans series, when we'll feature the Sweet Pain, and Brad Pattico who also played the Jazzfest over the weekend.

Channel 7