To paraphrase Woody Guthrie, New Orleans ain’t dead yet. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the city remains a unique place for music and celebration. In that spirit, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will stage the 38th installment of the annual festival over two weekends this coming spring.
The first weekend, April 27-29, will feature Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Norah Jones, Brad Paisley and homegrown Dr. John. The second weekend, May 4-6, will feature Harry Connick, Jr., Steely Dan, ZZ Top, John Legend and homegrown Allen Toussaint.
According to Billboard, the festival will be hosted at its usual location, the Fair Grounds Race Course, a site which boasts 10 live music stages. Tickets went on sale Jan. 25, and proceeds will benefit the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports various community development activities.
Hundreds of other artists are appearing at the festival. Here's a short, incomplete list: Jill Scott, Irma Thomas, Ludacris, Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Lucinda Williams, Calexico, Counting Crows, New Edition, George Benson, Gilberto Santa Rosa, the Allman Brothers Band, Better Than Ezra, Joss Stone, Stephen Marley and Taj Mahal.
Event producer Quint Davis told Billboard: “Jazz Fest is an invitation to move your body and soul. New Orleans is the best place in the world to listen to music and to sing and dance in an open and loving atmosphere, and this year we're presenting more music than ever.”
For those out there lucky enough to experience the Jazz and Heritage Festival, make sure to do whatever you can to enjoy yourself. The city’s been through a lot, and the staging of this festival stands as a testament to keeping hope alive. After all they’ve been through, they still feel like dancing. With little else to celebrate, the festival’s existence means quite a bit to all concerned.
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