Well we’ve been living with the Jazzfest lineup announcement for 3 days now, so the initial rush is gone and it’s time to start talking about our thoughts, strategies and plans. Falling on subsequent Saturdays, The Who and Elton John will be the biggest draws for all day camping. If you want a good spot for those shows, get there early with your friends and your flag. Last year’s addition of guarded walkways through the Acura stage field was a welcome addition that has made the day at the beach style Jazzfest camping much more enjoyable. Tickets to individual shows by either of these artists will run well over what it will cost you to get into the fest, grab a couple of beers and a soft shell crab poboy. If you were fortunate enough to catch Sir Elton’s last show in New Orleans, you know it’s well worth the price of admission.
As usual Thursday looks to be the most relaxed fest day. The Widespread Panic fans are generally pretty laid back and there should be plenty of space to hear some of the other fantastic acts lined up for that day. Sturgill Simpson will be back in town for the Thursday event. His set at Voodoo Fest was one of the highlights of that weekend and we should look for more of the same here. In addition to Sturgill, the legendary Monty Alexander will be bringing his unique style of Caribbean influenced jazz to (I assume) the Jazz tent. If that weren’t enough, Alison Krauss will be bringing the bluegrass and local (and personal) favorite Bonerama will be bringing the horns. If you have to pick one day of Jazzfest, Thursday is your day.
On the popier side of things both No Doubt and Lady Gaga’s duet project with Tony Bennett will both be performing. Each of these shows will blend sheer spectacle with a certain sense of nostalgia that should make for a potent combination. Barring any egregious scheduling conflicts, you’ll see me at both.
Finally, keep your eye out for a couple of local bands who have begun to break through into the national scene. The indy pop outfit Royal Teeth from Lafayette will by playing on the first Friday and the prog funk ensemble Earphunk will be playing the same afternoon.
There is plenty more to talk about here, but we’ll have plenty of time between now and then to discuss specific artists and schemes for the fest.