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: Saturday's Best at the Fest and the Clubs

Saturday at Jazz Fest, Rod Stewart tags in for Aretha Franklin. I give Stewart credit for aging into the Great American Songbook--even if I don't want to hear him sing those songs--but when he last played Jazz Fest in 2007, he closed with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy." That might be a question that the then-62 Stewart wondered in his heart of hearts, but making it his final statement/question to the audience made him seem desperate and shallow.

Our Schedules and Highlights for Jazz Fest's First Weekend

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell starts Friday, and it approaches, thoughts inevitably turn to the weather. Friday and Saturday look beautiful, but as of this writing, Weather Underground shows a 70 percent or greater chance of rain with thunderstorms starting at 10 a.m. and continuing into Monday morning. The takeaway: Enjoy Jazz Fest while you can.

Voodoo News: Saturday's Highlights, and the new Voodoo

If Friday’s weather at Voodoo 2016 is anything like yesterday’s, it will be a beautiful day for a festival—neither too hot nor too cold to preclude any costume choices. If Friday was hip-hop day in City Park, Saturday will be a day for heavy rock, from Altar openers The Pretty Reckless to headliners Tool. Even Le Plur headliners Die Antwoord will bring uncharacteristic aggression to that stage if not actual metal. 

Voodoo News: Chainsmokers Discussed, and Charles Bradley Out, Morning 40 In

After rain muddied City Park’s Festival Grounds to such a degree that the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience had to cancel its last day last year, this weekend’s forecast looks like payback. Predictions call for a weekend with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the mid-60, and less than a 10 percent chance of rain.

Voodoo News: Schedules, Weeknd, Tool, Arcade Fire

This year’s Voodoo Music and Arts Festival is little more than three weeks away, and the daily schedules are online. One interesting new wrinkle this year is that two stages will be quiet while the Altar Stage is in use. That will reduce the sound bleed that has been punishing in recent years, but it also reduces the number of options available.

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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