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NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters, Benedick and Beatrice, in a war of words and wits
1445 Pauger Street (6:00 PM)
Cultural philanthropists Dorian and Kel Bennett have opened their historic Marigny home for this inaugural event with music, theater and dance performances
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Punk rock on Lee Circle
Walter Wolfman Washington
d.b.a. (10:00 PM)
Fiery blues on Frenchmen - every week
Curren$y's Jet Lounge
Blue Nile (10:00 PM)
The NOLA rapper's weekly party
Banks Street Bar (10:00 PM)
Blues rock and BLTs!
Country Club (All Day)
Weekly Wed Gig- $3 martinis and free admission for the service industry folks.
Tom McDermott and Meschiya Lake
Chickie Wah Wah (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Piano man meets a golden voice.
Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses
Weekly Wed Gig- Gypsy jazz upstairs in the Marigny
Hi-Ho Lounge (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- from the street to the stage. Midnight Snax throwdown follows at 10pm.
dba (7:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- The world's premiere washboard-sousaphone-guitar trio.
Treme Brass Band
Candlelight Lounge (9:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Pass on by and see the 6th Ward’s home band
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
City Park’s Botanical Garden (5:00 PM)
New Orleanian songwriter performs at the weekly outdoor concert series
The Ogden Museum (6:00 PM)
Singer/ songwriter who has recently performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival and provided tour support for Raul Malo and the Wood Brothers
The Foundation Gallery (6:00 PM)
A screening of Maya's award-winning animation "Pareidolia" followed by a Q &A with the artist
Snug Harbor (8:00 & 10:00 PM)
The third evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Hi Ho Lounge (9:00 PM)
Hip hop artist raps on St. Claude with his album Trap Hop
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Performing tracks from the new album 'What a World'
In Defense of the Tents
New Arrival Brings Welcome Changes to One Writer's JazzFest
At Jazz Fest on Saturday, I only crossed the track into the infield once, and that was for a bag of cracklins.
The majority of my day was spent by the grandstand and the tents, not because I’m a jazz, blues, or gospel purist, but because I have a two-month old kid. Rather than fighting the heat and crowds while pushing a stroller across the Fair Grounds from stage to stage, we camped out around the fringes of the Fest, and at the end of the day my son’s first Jazz Fest went down in the books as one of my favorites.
Normally I like to wander at Jazz Fest, weaving through crafts and concessions from act to act, rarely staying to watch a whole set for fear of missing something better one stage over. This year was different; my wife and I decided beforehand to stay under the shade of the tents and close to the running-water bathrooms in the grandstand. We missed Tom Petty and Cee Lo Green, but in return we saw plenty of great musicians that we might have otherwise missed.
I’m not sure if anyone counted among their can’t-miss acts on Saturday the Delgado Community College Jazz Ensemble, but the first act at the Lagniappe Stage set the tone for our day. With plenty of room to park the stroller outside of the traffic pattern, the shady paddock area was a lovely setting for a jazz brunch of sorts, as the raw oyster bar is one of the Fest’s hidden gems, not to mention the $5 pints.
From there we cruised through the craft area on our way to the Blues Tent for Jeremy Lyons with Members of Morphine. An usher in the tent helped us find an out-of-the-way spot in the back where the baby squeaked and squirmed to the low rumble of Dana Colley’s saxophone. I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who openly admire our kid—pointing, smiling, initiating conversations—and if anyone was silently judging us as the kind of horrible people who bring a baby to Jazz Fest, they were far outnumbered by the well-wishers.
When we crossed the track a little later, however, I realized we were indeed the kind of horrible people who bring a baby to Jazz Fest.
After cutting out of the Blues Tent we made our only misstep of the day, deciding it might be safe to get some food and check out the Congo Square Stage. After the stress of navigating a stroller through the crowded thoroughfare in front of Food Area II and then waiting in line for cracklins and gumbo, we staked out a spot to catch Cheikh Lô of Senegal There was no relief from the sun, which made us worry about the kid getting sunburned or overheated, and when the Cee Lo fans began to trickle over, we started to panic as our escape routes quickly dried up. A once routine trek across the Fair Grounds became an exercise in patience and stress management, and we regretted leaving the comfort of the tents.
We packed up and headed back to the Lagniappe Stage to catch the end of Andrew Duhon’s set, followed by Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, where our kid—decked out in Baylon Brees-style ear muffs and a tiny Hawaiian shirt—was a center of attention for the Fest-goers around us, rather than just another stroller getting in the way of traffic. Lake and her band brought a touch of Frenchmen Street to the Fest, complete with swing dancers sharing the stage, which was nice for a couple of new parents who haven’t been to d.b.a. or the Spotted Cat in months.
After a quick stop in the Gospel Tent to check out the Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries Mass Choir, it was back to the Blues Tent for Bobby Rush. The septuagenarian blues singer was by far the highlight of our day, putting on a show that can’t really be categorized as “family friendly.” With pelvic thrusts, jiggling dancers, and lascivious lyrics, it’s probably a good thing that the baby slept through most of it.
On Sunday, I left the baby at home and traveled solo—bouncing from stage to stage, running into friends across the fairgrounds, and not thinking twice about wading into the crowd. That afternoon, I joined the fray crammed together at the back of the track for Bruce Springsteen, so I understand the power of Jazz Fest to create both personal and communal experiences. But now I also understand the guy with the tight-lipped grimace I spotted trying to clear a path for his nervous wife as she pushed a stroller out of the scrum that gathered before Springsteen started, telling her “to go with the flow,” as they looked for an exit strategy. “Head for the tents!” I wanted to tell them. “It doesn’t have to be this way!”
Saturday, in addition to a memorable day spent as a newly minted family, was also a reminder that Jazz Fest isn’t a singular, one-size-fits-all experience, but rather a place of possibility where exploration and discovery shape the event from person to person. Maybe it means missing some classic bands and radio hits, but the joy of sharing my son’s first Fest is something I wouldn’t trade for all of the Acura Stage headliners in the world.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
Published Daily by
Minced Media, Inc.