A Texican in New Orleans: Lessons Learned from Jazz Fest
Shorter Hours, Fewer Bands: If you can see the main-stage headliner you want to see and leave before the sun starts going down, that's a win in anyone's book. The fest's two big stages, the Acura and the Gentilly, had their headliners go on by 3 or 5 p.m. each day. Sunday afternoon, the Foo Fighters were done with their two-hour set by 5 p.m., and the Eagles put all the oldsters and winos to bed on Saturday by 7 p.m.
Saturday was pretty rough with the thousands and thousands of fans camped out to hear the Eagles, which made movement near that stage an unholy bitch, but once you left the vicinity you could walk comfortably. Seriously, old Eagles fans are kind of ornery, too. Look, Don Henley won't look any better from 350 yards than he does at 400 yards.
Tents Are a Lifesaver: A handful of large tents geared towards heavy hitters in gospel, jazz and the blues came equipped with fans, seats, a/c and misting units to spritz the crowd with. Some would call this coddling your crowd, but for the gospel artists it added a church-pew vibe to the proceedings. One could space out in front of Herbie Hancock for an hour and not worry about sunblock. I spent a good hour in a gospel tent with Mavis Staples and had the time of my life.
Sell Recordings of Select Sets: This isn't a new deal at all, but it is fun to see. The festival sells recordings of some select acts that you can buy or order online later. Obviously you won't find full sets from the Boss and Petty -- that's a big profit leader, bub -- but the jammier and rootsier acts will sell their stuff, since they allow taping as it is.
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