Say It Isn’t So

I still do read the newspaper (old school, more info) and I always read the Letters to the Editor. Most of the stuff the T-P publishes reflects the obsession with renaming the Hornets or gripes/kudos vis a vis the Saints (I’m so thrilled that the people in this city have nothing better to write letters to a newspaper about), but occasionally, something piques my interest.

A Jazz Fester (a local who hadn’t been to the festival in 12 years) took his family, including his 12-year-old son, to the Fair Grounds last weekend. He was “sickened” to see women flashing their boobs at Bruce Springsteen, and vows never to return to Jazz Fest.

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later: the Bourbonization of Jazz Fest. Soon these people will be wearing Mardi Gras beads and flashing boobs on a regular basis.

While Jazz Fest is definitely a more adult-oriented entertainment, I must admit I’ve never seen flashers at the stages. Have seen plenty of scantily-clad exhibitionistic women (no men yet, except for Chubby Carrier’s dancing friend). Yeah, it was hot last weekend, and yeah, most of us baby-boomers who patronize the Festival try to wear as few clothes as our aging, saggy bodies will allow us to. But showing your tits to Bruce Springsteen at Jazz Fest? Puh-lease!

Most of us who are into the music have been known to show various levels of enthusiasm (screaming, dancing, jumping, boogieing, etc.), but exposing breasts as a means of showing approval for a great show is something kinda new to me, and really takes fandom to a new level.

I’ve nothing against showing enthusiasm, but this is taking it a little far. Don’t know if I would never go back because my 12-year-old kid happened to get a glance at some mammary glands, but still…

Ladies (if you want to call yourselves that), please. Do us all a favor and save your tits for Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras, if you must. And may Facebook be kind to you the next time you apply for a job.


Other Jazz Fest notes: ordinarily I’m an every-day Jazz Fest kinda girl. Once my poor husband can lug my mobility scooter out of our car and get me situated on the track, I’m free and floatin’ from stage to stage. (And no Virginia, it’s not that I’m just an old broad, it’s that I have a lot of injuries from a long-ago car accident, so shut up, kids). On Saturday, I had a helluva hard time getting through the crowd into the festival, as there were so many people who had already set up their blanket-and-chair “territories” that it was really hard to get through the crowd early in the day. When Joseph and I decided to leave close to the end of Tom Petty’s set, I had to leave on Gentilly, while he went to get the car. There were so many people camped out that Joseph said it was literally impossible not to step on someone’s territorial blanket. He said he made his way over roughly 40 or so “territories” and was literally assaulted by a woman who was mightily pissed off that he stepped on her blanket. What’s a guy to do who’s trying to leave?

After that, we decided that it was going to be a lot worse on Sunday with Springsteen, so we stayed home. When it gets out-of-control crowded, we just can’t do the Fest.

So it begs the question: how much larger does Jazz Fest needs to grow to move to another location? Interestingly, Chris Rose did an editorial on Fox 8 News a few nights ago that mirrored my thoughts.

I also found it amusing that the newscaster on the evening news post-Rose expressed shock at the idea that Jazz Fest would move to another location. Hmmm…does anyone remember Jazzland, which morphed into Six Flags? One of the developer’s original ideas was that the location serve as a possible new location for Jazz Fest. And I can remember several issues in OffBeat’s past that discussed the possibility of moving Jazz Fest to City Park. Obviously the location is a lot more pleasant at the park (Voodoo Fest is a testament to that), but what most people don’t think about is that there’s probably some very lucrative agreement between the Fair Grounds and the Jazz Fest producers that would be hard to eschew if they moved the Festival. So while it sounds like a great idea for fest-goers, it wouldn’t be so great for the dollars and cents of the Jazz Fest, which of course, is more important than the comfort of the people who pay $60 a day to attend. Just sayin’…

I invited visitors and subscribers to say hello if they saw me at the Fest, and many have. I’ve also seen a lot of subscribers who stop by the office throughout the year—and particularly at Jazz Fest—to say hello. That’s always a thrill for me, because despite our geographical differences, we all have our love of New Orleans music and culture in common. It’s a way of my learning about them and their country vicariously. So thanks to Marcus and his father-in-law from Queensland, Australia; Maria from Turin, Italy; and Kendra and her lovely partner from Barbados, along with all the other OffBeat readers who’ve stopped in to visit. We love you and thank you for supporting OffBeat and our music.

May you all have a great, sunny weekend at the Jazz Fest!

  • Marcello Amari

    I think it’s time for the producers of Jazz Fest to give up the notion that, by scheduling the biggest local acts on the major stages before the superstars, they are somehow “exposing” (no pun intended) the superstars’ audience to something new. What I saw was the crowd that showed up for Springsteen ignoring and yakking loudly over Dr. John. The crowd that jockeyed for position at Congo Square for Cee-Lo ignoring and yelling their conversations over Cheikh Lo of Senegal. Seun Kuti on Friday, asking the crowd “Are you listening?” as they milled about down front, trying to get a little closer for Steel Pulse. 

    I say, just schedule 3 major acts a day at the Acura Stage and let the clueless and mannerless have their “reservation” at the west end of the Fairgrounds. That way the rest of us can enjoy New Orleans music in a relaxed, comfortable setting. Only at Jazz Fest can you hear Midnight Disturbers or The Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars with all the original members. I appreciate that some locals might look forward to hearing superstars at a bargain price, but you get what you pay for, people. 

  • Janramsey

    Yeah, I agree. I also found out this Jazz Fest that the producers have eliminated spots for the handicapped at both the big stages (Acura and Gentilly). If you are handicapped (as I am), first you have to find how to fight your way through the crowd to even get to the handicapped area, and it’s very far away from the stage. There’s a huge area in front of the stage for high rollers, which I’m assuming is the reason for eliminating the handicapped areas. I always thought Jazz Fest was very good in the way it handled handicapped access. No more. I’m essentially not able to get near either of the big stages to see and hear the music anymore. Shame on them.