J Balvin Introduces Jazz Fest to Reggaeton

I was thinking a lot this weekend about things you never see at Jazz Fest, and I got two more on Sunday. A fan somehow snuck a portable speaker in—portable speakers are not on the Kermit Ruffins-voiced list of prohibited items we hear when entering Jazz Fest!—and played reggaeton in the audience before J Balvin’s set began at the Gentilly Stage. It was great to see people start their own party with their own entertainment, just as it was great to see four girls rush the stage to hug Jack Antonoff during Bleachers’ set before Balvin.

Hurray for the Riff Raff, Curren$y, Stayed True to Themselves at Jazz Fest

Music is only part of the story at Jazz Fest, which is part of why covering it is so interesting. It’s a business story, so one thing that has to be taken into account in pieces that praised Katy Perry’s show—which was fine and did as much spectacle as she could manage under the circumstances—was that the number two name on the festival’s initial lineup release was a soft draw, particularly of young people. The folding chair village was full, but there was a lot of standing room on the track-side of the stage.

Jazz Fest: Context Works Against Red Hot Chili Peppers

Everything is relative. At a Lollapalooza or a rock festival, Red Hot Chili Peppers are funky. At Jazz Fest, they’re a rock band. They love funk, and Flea can be a funky bassist, but their rock is stronger than their funk, and it shows in a place where funkier bands are all around. Sunday, they surprised almost no one when they brought out The Meters with Ivan Neville subbing for Art to join them on the set-ending “Give It Away.” The two bands jammed together at Voodoo in 2006, and Meters’ guitarist Leo Nocentelli played the Acura Stage a few hours before the Chili Peppers.

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