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Jazz Fest Daily Diary

Published: 2003/04/21
by Jeff Waful

Embedded in the Big Easy

Can’t make it to Jazz Fest this year? has you covered, as we’re moving our newsroom to New Orleans for the duration of the event. From the festival grounds, to nightlife and late-night to the ridiculous sunrise shows, we’ll be filing live reports around the clock. In addition to our traditional news format, news director Jeff Waful will post daily journal entries that will help convey the human element of the Jazz Fest experience. * * * *
Monday April 21
9:13 a.m.
It is the closest thing to guerilla warfare that we do at With such an abundance of quality music crammed into one city over the course of two weeks, we’ll have our hands full. The toughest part about planning Jazz Fest coverage is determining what bands to see (and you thought Bonnaroo was tough). The one thing I’ve learned from my experience in New Orleans over the years is that for every amazing musical performance you catch, there are literally dozens and dozens of other great shows happening at that very moment (many natives complain that jam bands are taking over the city, squeezing out local musicians).
This year is no different. Take Saturday May 3 for example. Gov’t Mule’s much-hyped ‘Deepest End’ concert seems like a no-brainer at first glance, with an all-star line-up of surprise guests and the recording of a live album and DVD. However, while I’m taking scrupulous notes and snapping digital photos of Warren and Company, Ween and Col. Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains will be performing across the street. And just around the corner Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and Particle are playing. Of course, I’ll be wearing running shoes and trying my best to catch a little bit of each concert, slipping in and out of venues past confused ushers. But not every venue is within jogging distance. Other shows taking place during this time period include Fuzz and the Gratuitous Sextet, The Neville Brothers, the 2003 East vs. West Allstars (featuring members of Lettuce, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo, Brian Jordan, Jessica Lurie and Fareed Haque and Robert Walter), Nicholas Payton and Sonic Trance, All Mighty Senators, Bonerama, Melvin Sparks and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, to name a few. That’s more great music than most towns get in a month.
Covering everything that goes on in New Orleans during Jazz Fest is nearly impossible, but we plan to do our best at capturing a large slice of the pie. The days and weeks leading up to the event have been spent scouring club listings, data bases, and tour schedules. I’ve also been to the gym- seriously running three miles a day, as I’ve learned that physical endurance is a large part of surviving an extended stay in New Orleans (Now that I think about it, I probably should have hit the tanning salon in preparation for the bright sun at the festival grounds).
My first sleepless night will be this Wednesday, as I leave for Logan Airport shortly after 3 a.m. for a sunrise flight on Thursday. I should make it to the fairgrounds by noon, disoriented, exhausted and ready to rock (I can taste the catfish po’boy already). Tune in to beginning Thursday and check back often for news, photos and commentary from the front lines.
Special thanks in advance to Superfly Productions, Matt Goldman and W. David Foster at Jazz Fest, Lee at Tipitina’s, Cristina Diettinger, Regan Teti, Rob ‘Brian’ Marscher and NoDoz.
And who knows? Maybe in 2004 we’ll go live via video phone. Back to you Dean…

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