Jazzfest! One of the granddaddy music festivals in the country, and certainly one of the biggest here in New Orleans. This year will be extra special for the festival as it is turning 50. The festival has added an extra day and will have wonderful acts that are sure to entertain and bring a great amount of satisfaction. The festival runs each day from 11am to 7pm with 11 different stages filled with music spanning multiple national and international genres. The festival is also loaded with food (something that may have its own blog one day.) However, once the festival ends, in the evening, a sort of second festival happens throughout the city: The night time shows!
The evenings in New Orleans during Jazz Fest is a giant collage of various kinds of musical happenings in the clubs and venues all around the city. And the night shows get rolling before the first day of Jazzfest and continue after the fest has ended. What makes these shows so special is the artists can get to do a full set as opposed to a festival set, where the artist’s time can be limited to make sure everyone can play, but at night the artists are the headliners so they can stretch out their sets. From the small clubs to the large venues, listeners can find something super special for their listening pleasure.
One of the best tools for navigating all the shows is the Jazzfest grids (www.jazzfestgrids.com) These are similar to the Jazzfest cubes except they focus on the clubs in the city between the dates April 25 and May 7. There is no app for the Jazzfest grids as they started as a labor of love and is still running that way today. These dates also include the days between Jazzfest weekends. There are plenty of folks that enjoy being in the city between the festival weekends and the musicians are here for them.
The musicians also really enjoy this time, well for one it is very lucrative, two it is a time when all the New Orleans musicians are in town and have an opportunity to play with folks they normally do not play with. A lot of musicians will have special side projects that only happen during Jazzfest. For example on 4.28 at DBA is John Medeski’s Mad Skillet project featuring John Medeski (Medeski, Martin and Wood) Kirk Joseph (Dirty Dozen Brass Band) Will Bernard (Robert Walters 20th Congress) and Terrence Higgins (Swampgrease.) There are so many of these type of shows throughout the city and the shows are special one of a kind moments that will most likely not be recorded and will not happen again until next Jazzfest.
Also don’t forget to check out the local publications Offbeat( www.offbeat.com) and The Gambit( www.gambit.com) as they will list shows throughout the week as well and these publications can also help with dinner and late night eating plans. Definitely invest some time researching the night time shows and create a Jazzfest experience unique to only you!!