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May 1, 2006

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Returns

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz news

nojf
2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Poster

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Sees Successful Return

New Orleans kicked off its first post Katrina Jazzfest this past weekend, returning to the fairgrounds that were under water just mere months ago to resurrect what is perhaps the most significant event the festival has ever launched.

In an act of defiance and love, the event brings the soul of the nation back to life with the 37th annual Jazz Fest. The weekend attendance exceeded most expectations in spite of the fact that an estimated half of the population has not returned since the devastating hurricanes destroyed lives and homes. It’s a tribute to the people and the music of New Orleans to hear that the numbers are reaching previous years.

The return of North America’s most famous jazz festival, a misnomer in view of the broad musical landscapes represented, this year features such names as Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Lionel Ritchie and the Dave Matthews Band joining New Orleans royalty including Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Pete Fountain, Ellis Marsalis, The Neville Brothers, New Birth Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, Buckwheat Zydeco, and the man chosen for this year’s poster, Fats Domino, who captured the eyes of the world when he was airlifted from the rooftop of his home during the disaster, to rejuvenate the event, and in turn revitalize Crescent City.

The weekend’s most powerful and poignant moments took place when local musicians, many in town for the first time since the storm, reunited with each other, fans, the festival and their native home. According to Quint Davis, Producer of the 2006 festival, 92 percent of the performers over the course of the festival’s two weekends are from the region. Davis also said some top acts, including Etta James, Lionel Richie and Herbie Hancock, requested sometimes drastically reduced fees.

The festival will run again this coming weekend, showcasing another stellar list of performers including Marva Wright, Marcia Ball, Freddie King, Tab Benoit, Koko Taylor, Anjelique Kidjo, Jimmy Buffet, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Paul Simon, Lew Tabakin, and a host of others.

I wonder how could anyone doubt that the city that was built on the back of slaves whose indomitable spirit brought them to freedom, a city that continues to forge ahead in spite of their own government turning a blind eye to their pain and loss, could do anything less than conquer the ravages of Mother Nature? Your living example proves why New Orleans remains one of the greatest cities on earth. “We Shall Overcome” indeed.

for more information visit www.nojazzfest.com

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