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Jazz Fest to bring its most eclectic lineup in years

Leo Castell, Contributor

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The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be upon us once again towards the end of April and through the beginning of May. This year’s lineup consists largely of nostalgic favorites from as far back as the 70’s along with a couple more recent movers and shakers in music.

Stevie Wonder seems to be the headliner most people are talking about and for good reason, the man’s a legend. That said, his legendary material is far, far behind him with his best stuff being over forty years old which means the man behind that music is also that much older. He’s past his prime and his ability as a performer will be tested on the last Saturday of Jazz Fest by the undoubtedly rambunctious New Orleans crowd.

For me personally, the big act I’ll be looking for at Jazz Fest is Wilco. Though not as well known as many of the other major acts playing this year, Wilco are still juggernauts in the indie music scene that have more than maintained relevancy in the over twenty years they’ve been around. That said, their last album, Schmilco, was underwhelming at best and, in my opinion, the band’s worst record. The songs on Schmilco are also the band’s most low-key and don’t sound like they’d translate well into the live setting of Jazz Fest. Still, the band is known for defying expectations with their live performances and are worth seeing the last Friday of Jazz Fest just to hear them play their older stuff.

Other artists I’m looking forward to seeing are Alabama Shakes, Lorde, and Usher & The Roots, though mostly just The Roots. Kings of Leon and Earth, Wind & Fire are also worth looking out for, but really the best thing about the lineup this year is that everyone will have at least one day worth going with such an eclectic variety of musicians.

With that said, unless you just love the atmosphere of Jazz Fest itself or genuinely love all or most of the artists playing, this year’s lineup doesn’t justify going every day.

Both Saturdays, the first Sunday and the second Friday of Jazz Fest seem to be the best days to attend since those will have the densest concentration of interesting acts. It’s usually a good idea to pick and choose during Jazz Fest, but this year seems to emphasize that more than ever.


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The student news site of the University of New Orleans
Jazz Fest to bring its most eclectic lineup in years