What a time we had at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival (Jazz Fest). This was our third Jazz Fest so we knew what to expect – continuous live music of all kinds on twelve stages from eleven in the morning until seven at night. Tens of thousands of people, great food, crafts, art and an overall great time. Jazz Fest is held annually beginning the last weekend in April and continuing the first weekend in May – a total of seven days – at the Fair Grounds, a huge race track. We could only get away for one weekend and this year picked the frist weekend – April 22, 23 and 24.  We were joined at Jazz Fest this year by our friends Jim Bakay (WRDV-FM Radio) and Carl Tancredi (Gold Radio).  We stayed in the New Orleans Marriott on Canal Street. Shuttles picked us up across the street and dropped us off at the Fair Grounds. Even arriving at the Fair Grounds before the Festival opened, we were met with long lines.

DAY ONE – April 22, 2016

It’s best to know what you want to see before you get to the Fest, as the distances and crowds between stages and tents can be formidable. On top of that, we’re often forced to choose between two acts we want to see that are playing simultaneously. We knew we wanted to see “The New Orleans Classic Recording Divas” – the Dixie Cups (“Iko Iko,” “Chapel Of Love”), Jean Knight (“Mr. Big Stuff”) and Wanda Rouzan (“Long Time No See,” “Men Of War”). We’d seen them perform in the 2013 Jazz Fest and they were fabulous. They were on the huge outdoor Acura Stage which included two giant screens that gave a close up view to the thousands sitting and standing in the fields surrounding it. As we walked toward the Acura Stage, we stopped briefly at the Sherton Fais Do Do Stage to watch Goldman Thibodeaux & the Lawtell Playboys give is some great Cajun music and then paused to enjoy the Hot 8 Brass band at the Congo Square Stage. When we arrived at the Acura Stage, the Topcats were just finishing up their act with a nice version of Springsteen’s “Born To Run”.

As expected, the Dixie Cups, Jean Knight and Wanda Rouzan did a spectacular job. As all the lawn was taken, we ended up standing against the front railing by the stage. The Dixie Cups handed out white napkins to wave as they sang “Iko Iko” – a great souvenir. We paused for lunch and returned to the Acura Stage in time to catch part of Buckwheat Zydeco’s performance. We would have liked to have stayed for Michael McDonald and Steely Dan’s shows but we had dinner reservations in town so we called it quites for the day.

Click on the first photo to enlarge it and then use the side arrows to go to each photo in order.  See our next post for DAY 2 – Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Robert Parker, Al Johnson, Tommy McLain, Irma Thomas and much more!]