New Orleans Jazz Festival

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Created on: 3 Feb 2007
New Orleans Jazz Festival

(Taken from wikipedia)

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, often known as Jazz Fest, is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana.

The Festival has been held yearly since 1970 when it was founded by George Wein along with Quint Davis and Allison Miner. Miner died on December 23, 1995[1], but Wein and Davis are still on board, especially Davis who is the driving force in putting together the event as a Festival producer.

A similar "New Orleans Jazz Festival"s were held by different organizers in the 1960s. The first two festivals were held in Louis Armstrong Park, at Congo Square and the adjoining New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. More recent festivals have been held at the much larger New Orleans Fairgrounds, a horse racing track.

According to the Jazz Fest website, "The Festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, so the music encompasses every style associated with the city and the state: blues, R&B, gospel music, Cajun music, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk music, Latin, rock, rap music, country music, bluegrass and everything in between. And of course there is lots of jazz, both contemporary and traditional."[1]

The Festival also features vendors with local foods and crafts.

In addition to the performance stages, there is the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, an interview stage where Festival goers can hear musicians being interviewed. After founding the fest, Miner ran its day to day operation for George Wein for many years . Miner also founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive which contains recordings from musicians interviewed on the Allison Miner Stage. The stage was renamed in her memory after Miner died.
Acura, one of the two largest stages at Jazz Fest
Acura, one of the two largest stages at Jazz Fest

It is currently held during the day at the Fairgrounds on two weekends, the last in April (from Friday through Sunday) and the first weekend in May (Thursday through Sunday). For the 2 years following Hurricane Katrina, the 2nd weekend was Friday through Sunday only, but the Thursday is restored for 2008. On a few occasions, severe rainstorms have closed individual days of the festival. In addition to the Fairgrounds events, the Festival also holds various night concerts at other venues. The festival is a major tourism destination, with an importance for New Orleans only rivaled by Mardi Gras. In addition to the official Jazz Fest events, many other music events take place around the city than usual during Jazz Fest and the week in between the two weekends. Early Jazz Fests featured almost exclusively local acts; as the Festival grew more nationally known acts (most recently Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffett, and Counting Crows) were scheduled in addition to local performers.

The Jazz & Heritage Festival is run by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, which also owns the licence to radio station WWOZ.

A few of the most popular jazz festival posters were works by Louisiana artists, James Michalopoulos and George Rodrigue.

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