JAZZ FEST 2012: Rumors, Guesses, Wishes & More

The is now in the rearview and the relentless fall concert schedule is starting to slow down (although one could easily keep themselves busy on the live circuit until NYE) and therefore it’s time to start speculating about the 2012 Jazz Fest lineup. Hard to say who will be at the top of the bill when the lineup is announced but since we’ve probably got a over a month until the lineup release (or two months if released on last year’s timetable), here’s a handful of artists (however unlikely some may be) who could conceivably be at the Fairgrounds come Spring time.


Radiohead – A year ago at this time I would have scoffed at the mere suggestion and it still seems like a very distant possibility, but after Arcade Fire’s popular headlining appearance in 2011, perhaps Thom & Co. will be band #1 when the names come out. Also, the band announced their first U.S. Tour in four years today, hitting most big cities in the South with the exception of Nashville (holding out for Bonnaroo?) and New Orleans (holding out for Jazz Fest?). One can dream.

The Meters – Could The Original lineup return to Jazz Fest once again? After seeing both their mini-set at Bonnaroo before being joined by and the recent Voodoo outing there’s little question as to whether the local progenitors of funk can still bring it.

Paul Simon – Headlined the Hangout, played the Lakefront last Friday, appeared with Simon & Garfunkel in 2010, why not return with the Graceland band?

Big Country Headliner: Tim McGraw, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson…? Not my realm.

– Times have changed in the 15 years since Phish last appeared at the Fairgrounds. The fans have gotten older, taken on mortgages and a lot of the shadiness that marked the Phish scene in the 90s has subsided considerably. Also, the 3.0 version of the band has been more receptive to playing at multi-band festivals than in the past and since returning at Hampton Coliseum in March of 2009, Phish has headlined Outside Lands in 2011, ACL in 2010 and hit Bonnaroo for two nights in 2009. Perhaps the wounds have healed up and Jazz Fest is ready to give the Phish from Vermont another try. A monster day set of Phish sans Kuroda would a sight to see, that’s for sure.

The Raconteurs – Would make a great Thursday headliner and have not appeared at Jazz Fest since 2008. After headlining Voodoo this past weekend, it may be a long shot to double dip, but it seems like Jack White and Brendan Benson’s blues rock force is back up and swinging.

– Another good Thursday headliner to pique the interest of some people that probably wouldn’t otherwise make the trip. Currently a tour of Japan and Australia in January is all that is listed on the band’s web site.

Adele – I’m guessing now that she’s about to enter the realm of arena headlining superstardom in 2012 that a number of festivals will be on the singer’s docket.

Elton John – Wouldn’t that be something?

Stevie Wonder – Has not appeared at Jazz Fest since 2008 and headlined Bonnaroo in 2010 and ACL in 2011.

Neil Young – Came to the rescue in 2009 when Aretha Franklin had to drop off the lineup, perhaps we’ll get lucky and he’ll be included from the get-go.

Some other (unfounded) hopes, wishes, ideas:

Charles Bradley
Mavis Staples
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
7 Walkers

Bon Iver
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros / Alexander (Whichever is touring)
Wanda Jackson
Red Baraat (despite playing in 2011)

M. Ward or She & Him
Tallest Man On Earth
Jeff Mangum

Florence and the Machine (touring in support of new album)
Steve Earle (son Justin played last year, a return would be fitting in 2012)
Feist (new record just released)
(Original Lineup)
John Hiatt
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Buddy Guy
John Prine
John Butler Trio
Kris Kristofferson
Delta Spirit (new album in 2012)
Yim Yames solo
Leon Russell
Jonny Corndawg

James Cotton (Source)
– There will be a Gospel Tent (and really that’s all that matters)
– Not at Jazz Fest but…Peelander-Z is booked at One Eyed Jacks on April 26, 2012, in case you are looking for a bizarro show to kick off your Jazz Fest 2012.

If you got any other ideas, wishes, or to share, we’d love to hear them in the comments section.