As the years go on, there is more and more music taking place in New Orleans during Jazz Fest. For those that have never been, do yourself a favor and make plans for next year right now. The Jazz & Heritage Festival is held during the day Thursday Sunday on two consecutive weekends. At night, festival organizers produce a few "official" shows such as this year's Crosby, Stills & Nash concert or Widespread Panic's gig, both at Municipal Auditorium. Meanwhile, every other venue in town from large theaters to dive bars is booked solid by independent local promoters such as Superfly Presents. This year also saw a wealth of promoters from all regions of the country putting on shows, many of which were comprised of "all star" line-ups. With the economy struggling, overall Jazz Fest attendance was slightly down, which meant that many of the smaller shows struggled and some were even canceled due to lack of advance ticket sales. Many bands still did well however, supported by rabid music fans that seemed to never sleep. Even by 8 a.m. Monday morning, hundreds of people raged at the Howlin' Wolf as Tea Leaf Green encored with The Beatles' "I've Got A Feeling," my last notes of music during Jazz Fest.
Right now it's 3 p.m. on Tuesday May 6 and I've pushed my "late check out" about as far as I can. It's time to pack up my laptop and head for the airport. (I feel like Doogie Howser or something, closing out another episode). I'll leave you with one final diary entry.
Sunday May 4
We wander out into the hot morning sun, glassy-eyed and disoriented while Particle jams on in the background. Lee Ann is double-fisted with Guinness for the long walk across the street to her hotel. Rob and Dave are screaming at the top of their lungs about a Celtics game or some Dead show back in the 80s. A police car slowly passes us and we instinctively lower our voices and try to hide our beers. "Hey wait!" proclaims Dave. "We're not doing anything wrong! It's New Orleans!" With that, we all toast the cops and chug our beers. Stumbling, Lee Ann turns to me and says, "I can't believe I'm going to be a lawyer again in 48 hours."
Back to reality. See you next year.