Jazz Fest Interviews
You guys over the years have been a wonderful source of information; I thought I’d try you again to see if you could help me out. Do you know if the Allison Miner Stage interviews at Jazz Fest are stored for podcast/download somewhere online?
So many great interviews take place there every year: Unfortunately I couldn’t make Jazz Fest this year and really would enjoy hearing some of the interviews, especially the Kidd Jordan one (big fan plus he is such a cool character!).
Any information, including the answer that they are not stored anywhere (so I can get past my hope of hearing them), would be very helpful.
—Bill Marvin, Bloomington, Indiana
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation doesn’t have the rights to put the interviews online. At one time, OffBeat with the cooperation of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation published the interviews in print. If you want to listen to any of the interviews, you have to go to the Jazz and Heritage Archives to listen to them.—Ed.
The following letter is in response to James Markway’s guest editorial, “Why Musicians Don’t Get Paid.”
I think that every club that has live music should be required to pay a minimum, living wage to their musicians. It’s up to the club if they want to charge a cover, but the wages should be higher. I also believe that some of those millions of dollars spent marketing New Orleans music by the hotels, city, state and NOMCVB should go towards a musician’s healthcare and pension fund.
—Kimberlee Lauer, New Orleans, Louisiana
The following letter is in response to Jan Ramsey’s blog post, “Why Are Frenchmen Street Musicians Undervalued?”
Nightmare, I mean “Night Mayor” sorry. I do like the idea of an “entertainment mayor” though. Of course this is not a laughing matter. I have done posts on FB about this situation off and on for a while now. I play 6 nights a month in Frenchmen. Everything you say here is dead on. I played Bourbon Street the weekend before the most recent FQ Fest. When it was all over I felt like a piece of shit. I felt as if I had been cleaning the toilets for two weeks. Used and disrespected. I cut my teeth on Bourbon. I made more money back in the day playing matinees 4 days a week at the old raggedy-ass “A Bar” than I make now. Those days are gone. The mantra on Bourbon now is “Play 2-hour-plus sets with very short breaks so we don’t lose the crowd.” Bands are “used” for two things at these clubs and only two things: (1) sell beer and (2) get blamed for when business is bad. Sell beer and take the blame—period. The main problem I’m seeing is the fact that musicians out here now don’t seem to think that they should be paid well. They are so tied up in getting gigs at any price/wage and trying to make it that they have devalued themselves.
—Mem Shannon, New Orleans, Louisiana
Beth Arroyo Utterback
The following letter is in response to Jan Ramsey’s Mojo Mouth, July 2017, “It’s Not Easy Being Queen,” announcing WWOZ’s new General Manager.
WWOZ’s new GM Beth Arroyo Utterback knows her audience. Her “church member” analogy for frequent visitors to New Orleans matches the spiritual experience my family has long associated with the city. Visits for Jazz Fest, Saints games, and Mardi Gras were not trips or vacations; they were pilgrimages. And while I was raised in a secular household with few memories of going to church, an Irma Thomas performance or Cyril Neville’s sermon to conclude the Brothers’ Live on Planet Earth album provided powerful connections to God that were missing in my life. While my parents remain devoted pilgrims, I’m fortunate to be in New Orleans where I can worship at Tipitina’s and find peace in OZ 90.7. Wishing Beth power, glory, and unprecedented prosperity in her new mission.
—Andrew Gibbs, New Orleans, Louisiana
Jan Ramsey wrote: “There’s something we call the ‘church of New Orleans’—people who love the city so much they come here multiple times…”
In the same column, Beth Utterback coined another gem: “If you can’t live in New Orleans, let New Orleans live in you.”—Ed.