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JazzFest Attendance Highest in Almost 10 Years

It wasn't just you. More people were sweating on you than usual at JazzFest this year. According to Fest organizers, this year's attendance was 450,000, the highest since a 2003 bill that counted Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Counting Crows and New Edition among the big headliners. The all-time high remains 2001's 650,000. This year's potent mix of legends like Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Tom Petty, The Beach Boys and Herbie Hancock, likeables including Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, Janelle Monae and Rodrigo y Gabriela and of course locals seemed to have hit the mark again. Start your betting now for how they'll top it next year.

Looking Back at New Orleans JazzFest 2012

We've looked forward to the Fair Grounds fortnight since the lineup first came out in December. Now, after a long weekend of FM rock, all-star jams and really good fried food, it's all over once again. The 2012 edition of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival boasted one of the biggest lineups - and, in turn, biggest crowds - that there's ever been. And, as always, it was the small pleasures of chatting with a Mardi Gras Indian, spotting a flag that was actually a pork chop, or seeing America's favorite Uncle Jesse, that stand out even beyond the music. Click through to peruse NoDef's coverage of the full two weeks, and pretend you aren't actually working today:

A Handful of JazzFest: 5 Acts to Watch on Sunday, May 6

Down the stretch they come on the 2012 edition of New Orleans Jazz Fest, but there's still plenty of adventures in music in store to close things out. Today, blue-eyed soul gets a proper update in the Blues Tent, Bounce gets a shining moment at Congo Square, and a group of locals bring the rock to the Acura Stage. Make sure to hang onto this handful, because it's the last one for this year:

Behind the BayouWear

Artist Talks About Creating JazzFest's Official Apparel

For JazzFest goers who want to take their level of uniform dress beyond his-and-hers matching Hawaiian shirts or "Drunk 1, Drunk 2" shirts, the Fest that takes care of everything has an apparel option. Since being introduced in 1981, the changing patterns of BayouWear have worked to unify the masses in South Louisiana garb that can only be found at the Fair Grounds.

Mavis Staples Offers a Prayer to Levon Helm and a Bit of Presidential Politics at New Orleans JazzFest

FAIR GROUNDS -- Being old enough to remember when her father Pops penned songs that would later be classics of the civil rights movement, Mavis Staples has never been the type of performer to simply run through her hits without offering a few thoughts on the state of the world. Friday's set offered her a few chances to address current events. First, of course, was her would-be partner for a Saturday set that will not come to pass, the recently departed Levon Helm.

JazzFest Photos: Hats and More From Locals Thursday

FAIR GROUNDS -- Almost as important as a chair and a flag at JazzFest is a hat. And no one shows off their creative lids like the locals. NoDef Special Guest Photographer Mike Schafer was out roaming the Fair Grounds on the Fest's lone Thursday, and got some shots of festival headwear that combined fashion and function, and, as always, a little lagniappe. Click through to view!

Gearing up For the Second Weekend of New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012

There's plenty happening tonight, but forgive us if as the clock winds down on this Hump Day, our minds begin to drift askance toward the Fair Grounds. The second weekend of JazzFest opens up tomorrow promptly at 11 a.m., bringing with it a whole new slate of craft vendors, and, of course, musicians. Check back with NoDef tomorrow for more of the second weekend highlights. For now, here's a look at what's spilled forth from these pages so far:

Janelle Monae's Band Caught Lying Down On the Job at JazzFest

by Ryan Sparks

Janelle Monae closed out the first weekend of Jazz Fest on the Gentilly Stage Sunday night with an energetic show. Her live band proved just as capable with their footwork as with their instrumental chops, churning through several choreographed dances through many of the songs. Monae’s charisma had thousands of members of the audience partaking as well.  

JazzFest Flags and Fans: Photos

FAIR GROUNDS -- As they settled into first weekend of performances, JazzFest-goers planted their flag, and dug in for the duration. As always, the fields near the Acura and Gentilly Stages were filled with signposts serving both as meeting points and expressions. Special Guest Photographer Mike Schafter offered up a few prime examples of these banners, along with a few peoplewatching highlights for lagniappe.

JazzFest 2012 Revs Up: Photos

FAIR GROUNDS -- Sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures welcomed throngs to New Orleans' Fair Grounds Race Track for the 2012 edition Jazz Fest. The first day was a welcome reminder of those old, classic scenes. The breeze pushed the flags on the Acura Stage out full bore. Zydeco pushed dancers out of their seats and the grass to a brown pulp at the Fais Do Do Stage. And, of course, there were funny outfits. Click through to see photos from Special Guest Photographer Mike Schafer and Nodef Staff.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


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Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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