Jazz Fest Returns After Unprecedented 2-Year Break

Music Jazz Fest
Fans cheer as Widespread Panic performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, May 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After a two-year hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival returns this spring with headliners The Who, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Nelly and Willie Nelson.

Festival organizers announced the lineup for the festival Thursday. It’s scheduled over two weekends, Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1 and Thursday, May 5, through Sunday, May 8.

Festival producer Quint Davis said after talking with state and city health officials, organizers felt now was the time to bring the festival back to its original time slot.

“We will follow whatever COVID protocols are in place at the time,” Davis stressed. “Whatever they want us to do we will do. It helps that we’re outdoors. It’s still four months away, but we think by April and May it will be a beautiful time. Everybody’s ready to come back.”

Also performing at the festival are Jimmy Buffett, Luke Combs, The Black Crowes, Norah Jones, Ziggy Marley: Songs of Bob Marley and The Avett Brothers. Louisiana stars taking the stage include PJ Morton, Lauren Daigle, Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Nicholas Payton, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

“If this isn’t something for everybody I don’t know what is,” Davis said. “We’ve covered the waterfront on this one. That’s what we did after Katrina (in 2006). We want this to be for everybody and we’re hoping it will be.”

VIP packages, general admission weekend passes and travel packages are on sale now. Single-day tickets will go on sale soon.

Ticket holders who chose to roll over their tickets for the canceled 2020 and 2021 festivals will receive an email from the ticketing company with instructions on how to exchange their tickets for the weekend of their choosing.

Since the lineup was officially released, Davis said he’s been getting lots of calls about when is the best day to go. “My answer? The day that has the best weather,” he said with a laugh.

Davis said there is no single big draw among the typical lineup of rock royalty, Louisiana legends and up-and-comers.

“It’s the festival itself,” Davis said. “People want to get back out there. Have their Crawfish Monica and Miller beer, meet with friends and dance the night away. The festival is the draw.”


By AP reporter Chevel Johnson

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