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Levon Helm, Bunny Wailer Out of JazzFest Lineup
JazzFest announced more lineup shuffles Monday morning, as two of the Fest's prime music legends said they wouldn't be playing this year at the Fair Grounds. Levon Helm, who was scheduled to play a set with Mavis Staples and his band on Saturday, May 5, will be replaced by the Warren Haynes Band. Meanwhile, Bunny Wailer, an original member of Bob Marley's reggae combo, will be replaced by Marley's son, Ziggy, whose Wild and Free Tour was already scheduled to come through New Orleans during JazzFest.
JazzFest did not detail reasons for the cancellations. Helm, the drummer and vocalist of the legendary earthy rock combo The Band, has been in poor health for most of the year. His former Band-mate Robbie Robertson set off speculation Saturday in Cleveland at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony when he sent "Love and Prayers" to Helm, even though the two haven't been on speaking terms for years. According to jambands.com, Helm postponed a series of shows due to a slipped disc in his back last week. Helm last played JazzFest in 2010. This set was geared up to be a classic, as Helm's band was set to play with equally legendary soul singer Mavis Staples.
The circumstances surrounding Wailer's departure from the lineup are less apparent, with no news about injury or illness circulating. Marley will assume Wailer's spot closing out the Congo Square stage on Friday, May 4.
Warren Haynes is a longtime Radiators pal and JazzFest fixture - as well as longtime member of the Allman Brothers Band and Government Mule. Ziggy Marley has been touring for years as an ambassador of his father's brand of Jamaican reggae.
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