How Does Jazz Fest Turn 50?

On a star power level, this year’s Jazz Fest was soft. Its biggest names play casinos and theaters, not arenas. David Byrne’s tour will play Saenger-like venues when he’s not booked at festivals. Jack White fit in the Saenger as last time he was in town, and it’s hard to imagine that the poorly received Boarding House Reach changed his draw for the better.

Jazz Fest: David Byrne, Jon Batiste End the First Weekend on a High Note

[Updated] This first weekend of Jazz Fest will be remembered—to the degree that it will be remembered at all—for its extreme pleasantness. Whether because Festival Productions economized this year because they have their eye on their 50th anniversary in 2019 or because the right big ticket talent simply wasn’t available this year, the headliners were respectable but not spectacular draws. Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend with David Byrne and Jimmy Buffett topping the bill, but the crowds remained manageable throughout. 

Aerosmith, David Byrne, Jack White Top the Jazz Fest Lineup

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.

Last week: St. Vincent had skin in the game

If you were to judge on appearances alone, you might not guess that Annie Clark is first and foremost a rock musician. Based on her high-fashion stage attire (a minidress featuring bleeding eyes and mouths fashioned out of sequins, and a bob dyed grey), you might expect her scripted monologues, staged dancing, and adroit cultural references.

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