This morning, the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival unveiled the schedule cubes at the annual “Month-Out” Press Party held at the Fairgrounds, signifying that Fest is only a month away. After a brief performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the Fairgrounds paddocks, Jazz Fest Director Quint Davis immediately answered the question on everyone’s minds, announcing that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band would be taking over the coveted responsibility of closing down the Gentilly Stage on the festival’s final day. To commemorate the band’s yearlong 50th Anniversary celebration, the band will invite a slew of special guests to join them, and Davis named a few including My Morning Jacket’s Yim Yames, Ani Difranco, Bonnie Raitt and several more. Trombone Shorty, Shamarr Allen and very special guest Mayor Landrieu (on tambourine) then joined PHJB for an a.m. version of “Bourbon Street Parade”. The first thing that jumps out is the overall strength of 2nd Sunday, with the opportunity to see Rotary Downs, Red Stick Ramblers, Glen David Andrews, Galactic, funky METERS, The Bounce Shakedown with Big Freedia, Katey Red, Keedy Black and DJ Poppa, Foo Fighters, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Preservation Hall & Friends 50th Anniversary Celebration and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings all in the same day. Pretty solid way to close down the 43rd year of Jazz Fest…
Now with a tangible schedule at our disposal, the “New Orleans version of 30 Days ’til Christmas” (as Davis described it) has officially started and the always-enjoyable task of strategically planning out 7 days of festival-going begins.
A few notable conflicts that jump out (trust me people, these are good problems to have):
Friday, April 27th: The Beach Boys Reunion (Acura) v. Bon Iver (Gentilly) v. Steel Pulse (Congo Square)
Saturday, April 28th: Midnite Disturbers (Jazz & Heritage) v. Carolina Chocolate Drops (Fais Do-Do) v. Bobby Rush (Blues Tent)
Sunday, April 29th: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Acura Stage) v. Janelle Monae (Gentilly Stage) v. Al Green (Congo Square)
Thursday, May 3rd: Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Acura) v. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk (Gentilly)
Thursday, May 3rd: Eddie Vedder (Acura Stage) v. Florence + the Machine (Gentilly) v. Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society (Congo Square)
Friday, May 4th: Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. (Gentilly) v. Bunny Wailer (Congo Square)
Saturday, May 5th: My Morning Jacket (Gentilly) v. Herbie Hancock & his Band (WWOZ Jazz Tent) v. The Levon Helm Band with special guest Mavis Staples (Blues Tent)
Sunday, May 6th: The Neville Brothers (Acura) v. Preservation Hall & Friends 50th Anniversary Celebration (Gentilly) v. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Blues Tent) v. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly (Congo Square)
As always, gonna be splittin’ some time to catch multiple sets but all-in-all just beholding this massive 7-day spreadsheet is a huge thrill in itself. Can’t wait!