Jazz Fest returns the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May with a familiar mix of veterans and first-time talent. 

david byrne photo
David Byrne

When the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell returns April 27 to the Fair Grounds, it will be with Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett and his Acoustic Airmen, Jack White, Beck, Lionel Richie, David Byrne, Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, Khalid, Sturgill Simpson, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Common, and Cage the Elephant atop the lineup. Some of those aren’t news. Anita Baker announced she would play Jazz Fest a few weeks ago on Twitter, and Byrne has been the subject of speculation since his tour schedule was announced with gigs in San Antonio and Houston on April 27 and 28, then nothing until Atlanta on May 4.

Lionel Richie, Jimmy Buffett and Bonnie Raitt play Jazz Fest often enough that their announcements don’t feel like news, nor does Franklin or Sturgill Simpson, who last played Jazz Fest in 2015. Common and Sheryl Crow seem overdue to play the festival, as does Jack White, who has played it before with The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs. Really, the surprises in the announcement come in the form of Khalid and Cage the Elephant, the former being an inspired choice and the latter seeming like an odd fit.

Other highlights in this year’s lineup include Jon Batiste with the Dap-Kings, Charlie Wilson, Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with special guest Lucinda Williams, Los Silver Star of Honduras, Jupiter & Okwess of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Calexico, The Lee Boys, and the tribute to Fats Domino with special guest Jerry Lee Lewis. It’s great to see the return of Tank and the Bangas, Sweet Crude, Boyfriend, Ricky B, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Nicholas Payton, Lost Bayou Ramblers, and Meschiya Lake, who’ll pay tribute to Sweet Emma Barrett.

The daily breakdowns are up on the Jazz Fest website; the actual schedule is typically announced 30 days before the festival starts. Tickets and VIP packages are on sale now.

The talent lineup so far:

Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett and his Acoustic Airmen, Jack White, Beck, Lionel Richie, David Byrne, Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, Khalid, Sturgill Simpson, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Common, Cage the Elephant, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Revivalists, Steve Miller Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Smokey Robinson, Juanes, Lyle Lovett & His Large Band, Toots & The Maytals, Aaron Neville, George Benson, Charlie Wilson, Delbert McClinton, Irma Thomas, Steel Pulse, The Radiators @ 40, Jon Batiste with The Dap-Kings, Big Freedia, Buddy Guy, Old Crow Medicine Show, Blind Boys of Alabama, John Mayall, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Savion Glover, Leslie Odom Jr., Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with special guest Lucinda Williams, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson, Tamela Mann, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Galactic, Better than Ezra, Tab Benoit, Dianne Reeves, Telmary y Habana Sana of Cuba, Los Silver Stars of Honduras, Hezekiah Walker, Ron Carter Trio, Rebirth Brass Band, Tank and the Bangas, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Bounce featuring Cupid, 5th Ward Weebie, DJ Jubilee, Partners-N-Crime, and Ricky B, Archie Shepp Quartet, Anders Osborne, Sona Jobarteh of Gambia, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, Jupiter & Okwess of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kermit Ruffins’ Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Davell Crawford, Boyfriend, Chocolate Milk, Ruthie Foster, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Samantha Fish, The Soul Rebels, Sonny Landreth, Sweet Crude, Jazz Fest celebrates the New Orleans Tricentennial, Walter Trout, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton, Pine Leaf Boys, Socks in the Frying Pan of Ireland, Jake Shimabukuro, Sidi Touré of Mali, James Andrews & the Crescent City Allstars, Walter Wolfman Washington & the Roadmasters, George Porter, Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners, Jon Cleary, Terence Blanchard & the E-Collective, Wayne Toups, GIVERS, Cowboy Mouth, Marcia Ball, Calexico, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, The Last Bandoleros

Doug Kershaw & Friends, Bobby Rush, John Boutté, Hiss Golden Messenger, Zachary Richard, Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton featuring Henry Butler, Darcy Malone & the Tangle, The Walls Group, Jermaine Landrum & Abundant Praise Revival Choir, Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians, Lakou Mizik of Haiti, Imagination Movers, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Kod Kreyol and the Creole Dance Ensemble of Haiti, Furious Five Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Nicholas Payton, Don Vappie’s Tribute to King Oliver, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Lena Prima, John Mooney, Lee Boys, The East Pointers of Canada, Royal Teeth, Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars, Meschiya Lake Remembers Sweet Emma Barrett, Hot 8 Brass Band, Tribute to Fats Domino with special guest Jerry Lee Lewis and hundreds more!!!