The Jazz Fest talent lineup announcement is a complicated dance, one that starts with the roll-out and is followed by the debate.
Monday, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell announced its day-by-day talent lineup and that tickets go on sale Tuesday. Social media didn't wait for the the lineup to be posted before floating Chumbawamba, Andy Williams and Boxcar Willie as facetious possibilities.
Here's a sampling of Monday's responses on Twitter, which I post because it shows that there's an audience for everybody at Jazz Fest, even if you and I aren't it.
On Facebook, the usual disgusted cry went up that Jazz Fest has no jazz and no musicians from New Orleans. I understand that when people complain about the jazz, they're referring to the contemporary jazz offerings in the jazz tent because jazz as a whole is well represented--at least numerically--with brass bands and traditional jazz in Economy Hall.
But I'm not sure what people are saying when they talk about the lack of local acts. I look at the lineup and it's obviously heavy with local acts. Do they need to be in the top lines for each day to register? Do the New Orleans artists need to be stage closers? if so, who's big enough to close the big stages? Is every slot occupied by an out-of-town artist viewed as such an affront that it almost erases New Orleans' musicians' names? I feel like that comment is a shorthand for something, but I'm trying to figure out what.