I truly enjoyed my first Jazz Fest weekend. The highlights were, of course, the weather being so wonderful throughout. My favorite day was Saturday, though. When I got to the Fest, I was hot and thirsty, so I immediately headed to the WWOZ Mango Freeze booth near the Fais Do Do Stage, picked up my freeze, and headed back to the grassy area near the folklife area. I happened to see a presentation with Ronald Lewis (one of the characters in Nine Lives) who talked about being displaced in both Hurricans Betsy and Katrina. He was in the Haiti Folklife area and was comparing his experience to all the Haitians who are still recovering from the devastating earthquake there. There was just something about it: hearing Ronald tell his story, the beautiful day and the breeze, the yummy mango freeze. Just one of those great Jazz Fest “moments” that we all experience.
I also loved Anat Cohen at the Economy Hall Tent at the end of that day; unbelievable clarinetist; she blew me away. My favorite act of the weekend, though, was Glen David Andrews and company at the Blues Tent on Sunday afternoon. Sitting in with Glen were Marcia Ball, Amanda Shaw and Paul Sanchez. By the time the show started, it was pretty hot and sweaty inside the Blues Tent, and an opening number by Marcia Ball really got the crowd going. Andrews had the crowd on its feet from the beginning, and never let up. About 20 minutes into the set, Glen so wound up the crowd that he jumped in and began to crowd surf through the tent. Pretty amazing, exhilarating stuff. A great weekend, with a lot more to come for the second helping.
Have you had a chance to see our Radiators’ cover? We’d planned to feature Irma Thomas on our 2011 Jazz Fest Bible cover, but we’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t honor the Rads’ last official Jazz Fest performance this weekend with a cover devoted just to them. Our artist, Tim Neil, did both version of the Jazz Fest covers, and his work will be showing at the Margaret Landry Gallery at 1618 St. Charles Avenue. He also created a poster for WWOZ, so he’s now an “official” music poster local!
You can order a copy of either or both covers from the OffBeat store.
After all the brouhaha over Armstrong Park, Mayor Landrieu announced that the shoddy park work would be repaired and that the park would re-open by the end of year in a letter to the Times-Picayune.
The administration has been under pressure to reopen the park, at least the part that isn’t undergoing construction, and apparently that will happen on the day after Jazz Fest. Just goes to show you that if you want it badly enough, it can happen. A little media coverage doesn’t hurt either.
Hurray! Now if we can just get the park open, evaluate the damages to the Municipal Auditorium so it can be rehabbed, create a music museum, and get the tourism folks to recognize that New Orleans is a music destination, we will have come a long way, and I will have made many of my dreams come true. I hope it all comes together in my lifetime—things are slow in the “Big Easy,” too slow for my tastes. But I guess if I want it enough and push for it hard enough, a few of the right people might listen.