Five Candles for Jazz in the Park
The free festival celebrates a milestone year.
Any visitor to New Orleans is immediately surrounded by the culture of music. A band will likely be playing at the airport baggage claim, WWOZ could be playing on the cab driver’s radio and the hotel will be piping some Satchmo through the lobby speakers.
Springtime in Nola is synonymous with Jazz Fest, but there is another outdoor music event that happens every Thursday evening from now until June – Jazz in the Park. The concert series turns five this year and offers a stellar lineup of musical acts and performers each week.
Emmanuel Lain, founder of Jazz in the Park, began the programming not only to bring world-class local musicians to the people for free, but also to serve as an economic engine for the Treme neighborhood. Revenue generated through the concerts (through vendor partnerships instead of ticket sales) supports mentorship and training for at-risk individuals in the Production Training Program. Additionally, his group People United for Armstrong Park (PUfAP) works to improve Louis Armstrong Park and it’s evident they’ve had a tremendous impact.
Lain said, “Before we started Jazz in the Park, there was a prevailing sentiment that Armstrong Park was not safe, and people would advise tourists not to go cross Rampart Street…Jazz in the Park has done a lot to change that perception, and now thousands and thousands of people attend our series and the park is viewed as safe place to have a good time. Jazz in the Park has expanded the foot traffic of the French Quarter to the Treme neighborhood. While we are not the only tourist attraction in the Treme we have made Armstrong Park a destination, and now Armstrong Park is a major contributor to New Orleans cultural economy.”
Regarding the tourism industry and economic impact of the events, Lain said, “Jazz in the Park has also expanded travel days to the city from primarily weekend travel to Thursdays- we put additional ‘heads in beds.’ Our festival is an economic engine for the Treme neighborhood, we hire Treme residents who have traditionally been left out of the New Orleans economy. PUfAP's Jazz in the Park concert series indirectly and directly provides employment opportunities to more than 100 individuals in the community. On a weekly basis, we hire stagehands, sound technicians, musicians, laborers and promotion staff. Each week our twelve food vendors (who each usually have a staff of three) are able to earn a living selling good, authentic New Orleans food. Our fifteen craft and art vendors get a chance to sell their wares to our Jazz in the Park patrons.”
The lineup is definitely one to add to your calendar, whether you’re a local or a traveler to New Orleans.
Budweiser Presents “Jazz in the Park” Spring 2016 Schedule – Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots
Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers
King James and the Special Men
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra featuring Irvin Mayfield
The N’awlins Johnnys
Bag of Donuts
Preservation Hall Brass Band
Honey Island Swamp Band
Darcy Malone & the Tangle
Sporty & the Big Shots
Very Special Headliner to be announced
Budweiser presents the 1st annual “Jazz in the Park Treme Art & Music Fest” May 6-8 Schedule:
Friday, May 6:
Big Birthday Bash featuring DJ and piano performance by Davell Crawford
Saturday, May 7:
Raw Oyster Cult
Cory Henry and the Treme Funktet
Walter Wolfman Washington & the Roadmasters
Treme Brass Band
Sunday, May 8:
Headliner to be announced
Little Freddie King
Darcy Malone and the Tangle