A Quick Take on Jazz Fest 2017

What are the reasons to be excited by the lineup for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell? Not the top two lines of the talent release, which are filled with artists we’ve seen in the last decade. That’s certainly the case with Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Maroon 5. Will every Acura and Gentilly headliner this year be someone who has headlined the stage before?

Stevie, Petty, Maroon 5 Top the Jazz Fest Lineup

The returns of Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, Maroon 5 and the focus on the music of Cuba are the news in the lineup for the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. Kings of Leon, Pitbull, Alabama Shakes, and Widespread Panic will also return, as will Dave Matthews—this time in a duet setting with Tim Reynolds. The top newcomers to the lineup are Usher with The Roots, Meghan Trainor, Lorde, and Nas with The Soul Rebels.

Jazz Fest: The Second Sunday's Schedule and Picks

Saturday ended with a number of impromptu water features on the Fair Grounds. Drainage ditches cut into the infield became lakes, particularly at the Acura Stage, where video showed people going knee deep to cross it. The good news is that the water will likely have drained by the opening of Jazz Fest today. The bad news is that the grounds will likely be a muddy mess. And more storms are expected.

Jazz Fest: Ms. Lauryn Hill Delivers

After a Jazz Fest that has had an unusual number of performers late to the stage, it was a pleasant surprise to see Ms. Lauryn Hill take the Congo Square Stage right on time Friday. Or, to be precise, her show started promptly at 5:45. Her DJ warmed up the crowd with 20 minutes of R&B, dance hall, and hip-hop including a minute or so of Lil Wayne’s “A Milli.” Then, Hill came on stage wearing a cardinal red jacket over a bold, black and white striped dress with a high lace neck.

Jazz Fest: The Second Friday's Schedule and Picks

Yesterday a friend said that many of his best Jazz Fest moments came during the rain, and I get that. There's something communal about everybody slogging it out in the rain together for a band that feels special, and the bands clearly appreciate our hardiness. Less magical is the aftermath--the mud. Let's hope for the best at the Fair Grounds today, but I can't imagine it got hot enough yesterday after the rain to dry up the mooshy spots. Fortunately, we should have a hot, relatively rain-free day to day, and that will help. 

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