Jazz Fest, the biggest festival in New Orleans outside of Mardi Gras, is here but what’s not is the jazz, according to one local.
“When the hell did LL Cool J, Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart, and Big Freedia start playing jazz?” said Tom Adams, who moved to New Orleans from San Francisco last summer and has now begun referring to the event as Just About Everything But Jazz Fest.
Adams, a self-proclaimed “jazz-head” who retired to the city because of its moniker as the genre’s birthplace, can’t seem to understand how The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has so many musical artists performing non-jazz music.
“I pay a hundred bucks to stand out in the sun with all these smelly kids while hoping to listen to some classic 12 bar riffs. Instead, I only get whiffs of Mary Jane. Where’s the jazz, man?”
Festival organizers, who maintain that jazz plays an integral part of the festival, disagree.
“I don’t know where this gentleman is getting his information but jazz is everywhere at our festival. It’s not only in our name, it’s the first word. Well, technically, the third, but you know,” festival director Pat Ryan said, who also noted that dozens of jazz acts perform on the popular River Parish Disposal Jazz Stage near the back of the fairgrounds.
“Aside from our immensely popular Jazz Stage, jazz is on posters, tickets, schedules, signs, t-shirts, hats, umbrellas, water bottles, pens, balloons, key chains, magnets, coffee mugs, flags, tote bags, notebooks, USB drives, mouse pads, clocks, trading cards, tablet cases, crockpots, earrings, condoms, paperweights, towels, and, I’m proud to announce, we’ve struck a 10-year deal with LEGO so youngsters can rebuild the experience at home. You name it, we’ve got it and jazz is on it. Without jazz, it just doesn’t work.”