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Published: 2017/05/05

Widespread Panic, George Porter Jr. and More Highlight Opening of Second Jazz Fest Weekend

New Orleans’ Jazz Fest continued last night with the second weekend of festivities around the city, including highlights like the main stage shows with Widespread Panic and George Porter Jr. and his Runnin’ Pardners, plus a few sit ins from Porter and more.

Widespread Panic closed out the main Acura stage with one of the fest’s longest headlining sets, stretching around two and a half hours and climaxing with “Travelin’ Light.” Porter and his Pardners played the stage earlier in the day and paid tribute to the late Col. Bruce Hampton. Porter said he feels like he’s losing all his friends, and the band played a cover of The O’Jays’ “Sing a Happy Song” that led into “Turn On Your Lovelight,” a song that will now be tied to Hampton after it became the last song he would ever perform.

Porter also shared the love with some sit ins with other groups, including playing with Anders Osborne and many others as part of the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, a supergroup compiled by Tab Benoit.

Elsewhere during the festival, Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr played the Congo Square stage and performed New Orleans staples like “Iko Iko” and “Hey Pocky Way,” Kermit Ruffins helped Torkestra celebrated the Great American Songbook in the jazz tent and Pedrito Martinez helped the Cultural Exchange pavilion celebrate Cuba throughout the day.

Marco Benevento also debuted his new trio lineup with Guster’s Dave Butler behind the drums at the Joy Theatre, and a late-night show at the Republic brought together Porter and his Meters bandmate Zigaboo Modeliste with Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring and JoJo Hermann for Foundations of Funk, who played Meters classics and a Herring-led “Take Me to the River.”

New Orleans’ historic Preservation Hall hosted a Lee Dorsey tribute on Wednesday night led by Lettuce’s Benny Bloom and John Cleary as part of their Midnight Preserves benefit series. The evening also featured Clint Maedgen, Ronell Johnson and Roland Guerin. In addition, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore sat in for a take on “Get out my life Woman.” The stream of guests continued on Thursday night when Irma Thomas, Karl Denson and Brady Blade all joined members of the Preservation Hall family during the late-night Midnight Preserves show.

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