It's Time to Get Excited for Jazz Fest 2014

The lineup is out! Here are the acts I can't wait to see.
Courtesy of
Bruce Springsteen is performing May 3 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

New Orleans' corner of the internet exploded yesterday when the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup was announced. In case you missed it, headliners include Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Christina Aguilera, Phish and many, many more.

I know I'm supposed to be excited about Carnival season right now, but at the moment all I can think about is Jazz Fest. Last year was my first festival and I loved it. I ate my first piece of crawfish bread, I danced in the Blues Tent and I saw Billy Joel play with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. While I did have to sit in mud for much of the time, I loved the two days I spent at Jazz Fest. I felt so lucky having something so big less than two miles from my apartment.

I thought I would be blogging about Carnival season for the months of January and February, but I'm taking a break from the Mardi Gras madness to share with you the acts I can't wait to see at this year's Jazz Fest:


10. Irma Thomas

Photo courtesy of Sumori

I didn't make it to the Gospel Tent last year but I really want to go this year. I've heard the gospel music at Jazz Fest is incredible, so I would really love to see Irma Thomas for the first time. According to her website, Thomas is giving a gospel show and a blues show at this year's festival.


9. Allen Toussaint

Photo by Henryk Kotowski

I recently met Allen Toussaint at St. Charles Avenue Magazine's Activists of the Year party. Toussaint was one of the honored activists and he was clearly the biggest celebrity at the event, but he was so nice to everyone and he seemed so humble. One of my favorite things about New Orleans is that Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are involved in community events and organizations, no matter how famous they are.


8. Christina Aguilera

Photo courtesy of Facebook

I thought it was funny when I saw Christina Aguilera's name on the same line as Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton. Which one of these is not like the other, I thought. But I was a huge fan of Aguilera circa sixth grade, so I had to include her on this list. She also does an amazing cover of Etta James' “At Last,” so with a voice like that, she deserves to be at Jazz Fest.


7. Anders Osborne

Photo by Derek Bridges

Fellow New Orleans transplant Anders Osborne released his album Peace in October and it is worth a listen. I haven't seen him live yet so I'm thinking Jazz Fest is my chance.


6. Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers

Photo courtesy of Basin Street Records

It's not hard to catch Kermit Ruffins live in New Orleans, but I always enjoy seeing him. He was the first artist I saw perform on Frenchmen Street when I first moved here, so everything about him screams New Orleans to me.


5. The Avett Brothers

Photo by Moses Namkung

I've been trying to see these guys live for a while, but their touring schedule never seems to mesh with mine. I love their music, and their song “Kick Drum Heart” from the album I and Love and You is one of my favorites.


4. Solange

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Known to most as Beyoncé's little sister, Solange is a big deal on her own, known for her fashion sense and her music. She's also been getting lots of attention in NOLA recently: she's reportedly living here part-time, plus she and Beyoncé recently hosted a big birthday party for their mom at Muriel's.


3. Vampire Weekend

Photo courtesy of Facebook

I saw Vampire Weekend in 2010 in Paris and they were great. I am also obsessed with their latest album, Modern Vampires of the City, so I would love to see them live again.


2. Eric Clapton

Photo courtesy of Majvdl

My dad is a huge fan of Eric Clapton, so he introduced me to Clapton and his famous guitar skills. Clapton has been around for a long time, so I feel like he's one of those artists you can't miss if you have the chance to see him live.


1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Photo by Craig ONeal

I love Bruce Springsteen, but I have yet to see him in concert. My parents saw him in concert several years ago and they still reminisce about that concert. I cannot wait to see him at Jazz Fest and I want to see him more than anyone else on this list. One of my journalism professors used to compare great experiences to hearing "Born to Run" for the first time; I hope my Jazz Fest experience lives up to that description.

Categories: Festivals, Music