Poster created by artist James Michalopolous
That was last year's motto for the Jazz and Music Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and if I could, I would be there in a heartbeat. There are several times during the year that I want to be home, but there are other times when it feels like a necessity. Mardi Gras is one of those times, Christmas is another. But Jazz Fest? Though I haven't been in years, it is a rollicking good time and one I remember fondly.
Rules to properly enjoy your time at Jazz Fest: dress comfortably, bring a wide-brimmed hat, a folding chair, and a little money, wear plenty of sunscreen, and drink a ton of water. Then prepare to enjoy some of the best music you have ever heard! The company of people from all over the country only adds flavor to this zesty time.
Every year the line-up becomes more and more impressive. There will be the small, homegrown bands, musicians and choirs from nearby universities and high schools. There are gospel choirs. You'll hear some well-known local artists like Jason Marsalis, Kermit Ruffins, Dr. John, The Nevilles. But then you'll also get to see some pretty big names as well. This year Dave Mathhews, Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Frank Ocean, Fleetwood Mac, and Preservation Hall Band are particiapting. There's even a rumor that Hall & Oates are going to show up. You know...for you Hall & Oates fans.
I would go for Dr. John and Marc Broussard alone. I would endure the heat, the dirt, the people with lack of personal hygiene, and dance the days away happily for the joy of simply being present. It's completely worth it. So if you're in the New Orleans area, or nearby, I highly suggest you head to the Fair Grounds off of Gentilly. It's only minutes from the Quarter, and if you don't stay for the food or various artisans, you will definitely stay for the music!
To all my friends at home enjoying yourselves this weekend and next, have a little extra fun for me.
We'll be tuning into Jazz Fest live on WWOZ.org, and so can you!