Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jazz Fest in decline

It's a sad fact that every year the New Orleans Jazz Fest loses a little of its appeal. The line up was announced today, but so many of the greats of yesteryear are either dead or no longer performing that it's a shadow of its former self. Official headliners this year are Fleetwood Mac, the Black Keys, Billy Joel, the Dave Matthews Band, Frank Ocean, Maroon 5, Widespread Panic, Patti Smith, B.B. King, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Hall & Oates, John Mayer, Phoenix and Willie Nelson. Yes there are some big names but also a few that I've never heard of.
Looking further down the list there are a few other highlights over the two weekends. Most of these are New Orleans regulars, such as Dr John, Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, the Nevilles (comprising the other three Neville Brothers as Aaron is pursuing a solo career, no doubt with the aim of promoting his new doowop album), Allen Toussaint and Walter Wolfman Washington. There is the usual sprinkling of Cajun and Zydeco acts, including Steve Riley, Geno Delafose, Rockin' Dopsie Jr, Wayne Toups, C J Chenier and D L Menard. Of the rest there are a few that look interesting, including Earth Wind and Fire, Charles Bradley, Herb Hardesty, Jimmy Cliff, Ruby Wilson and Taj Mahal. And of course there are literally hundreds of lesser known acts, some of whom will no doubt prove to be excellent. The full line up can be found at
I am currently looking into the possibility of doing a US road trip in the spring, which would take in part of Jazz Fest, as well as a lot of other festivals and cities. But it is no longer the seven days of brilliant music that it used to be.


At 3:55 pm , Blogger Nick said...

On closer inspection the final Sunday looks pretty good, with Aaron Neville and Irma Thomas, plus a revue including Clarence Frogman Henry, Frankie Ford, Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson and Robert Parker. That's a good percentage of the remaining New Orleans R & B people all on the same day. Will have to make sure I'm there.


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