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Jazz Fest Turns 50


The Jazz Fest Lineup Two Days Later

Well, the 2019 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lineup is finally here and there is a lot to talk about.  The obvious starting point is The Rolling Stones who will play on the second Thursday of the fest (May 2).  It would appear that several compromises were made to accommodate The Stones.  This special anniversary day of the fest will be a separate ticket ($185 + fees) and will feature a truncated schedule and limited capacity.  Everything other than the Acura stage will shut down at 4 p.m. to give people time to get settled for The Stones’ show which begins at 5 p.m.  This day is packed with music.  In addition to The Rolling Stones, you can see: Tom Jones, Mavis Staples, Ziggy Marley, Nicholas Payton and The Light Beings, the Tin Men and a whole host more.  If a lot of folks head over to Acura to hold their spot for The Stones, it could make for an excellent afternoon to wander around and see a host of amazing bands so long as you don’t mind being near the back for the main event. 

To keep the regular fest events at seven days, the first weekend has expanded to include Thursday with a locals’ discount ($50 with valid LA ID).  I absolutely love the lineup for this added day.  Earth, Wind and Fire and Alanis Morissette hold down the headlining spots with appearances from:  Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band, Boyfriend, Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns, James Carter’s Organ Trio (!), The Milk Carton Kids and more.  The last time Jazz Fest tried adding a first Thursday was in 2003 and it remains one of my favorite fest days—the crowds were small and resolutely local—it really did feel like a day without tourists. 

For my money I think Sunday the 28th looks like the best single day lineup – headliners Van Morrison, Al Green, J Balvin, Bonnie Raitt and Irma Thomas.  They are joined by the Indigo Girls, Flow Tribe, Helen Gillet and Naughty Professor.  There are also some excellent tributes that day:  the Tribute to Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino with special guests Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford, Jon Cleary, and Al “Lil Fats” Jackson featuring the Fats Domino Orchestra, the Tribute to Louis Prima featuring Louis Prima, Jr., John Boutté, Meschiya Lake, and Wendell Brunious, and the percussion focused 'Give the Drummer Some' featuring Herlin Riley, Shannon Powell, Terence Higgins, and Johnny Vidacovich.

I think Katy Perry is a good choice for the festival, she’ll bring in a different crowd than usual.  It’s nice to see Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffett and the North Mississippi All-Stars come back to help celebrate the anniversary.  Kamasi Washington is a huge get and a great choice for the festival, hopefully he’ll be featured more as the event gets closer.  On the whole it’s a solid lineup for the big celebration.  I’ll have more recommendations as the fest approaches and you can find the whole lineup here.

Jazz Fest Turns 50


To Do This Week

Tonight the Radiators start their annual three night reunion stand at Tipitina’s.  Tomorrow The Essentials play Gasa Gasa.  Saturday the Bourgeois Mystics are at Gasa and the Amen Dunes are at One Eyed Jacks while The Steeldrivers stop in at the Joy.  Sunday Perpetual Groove are at Tips.  Tuesday Jake Flores is at Gasa.  Wednesday Screaming Traps are at Siberia


To Listen This Week



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