Jazzfest 2000

The Jazzfest of the New Millenium had every opportunity to be the biggest event in New Orleans history. So why was everyone in the French Quarter complaining about the worst Jazzfest ever?

Because what used to be a boldly creative booking process devolved into the same old dog and pony show - and national pop acts taking precedence over what the festival is supposed to be about: the best and most diverse gathering of roots musicians on the planet.

The fact is, Lenny Kravitz, Sting and Eryka Badu don't need Jazzfest and Jazzfest doesn't need them.

These "major" acts are perfectly talented and so forth and so on. But they also tour the entire world on a regular basis, stopping at every major city along the way.

Why would someone from Tokyo or Germany make a special trip to New Orleans to see Sting at Jazzfest when they can see him perform in Munich or Tokyo the next month? They wouldn't.

Plus, word on the grapevine was that the three artists mentioned above cost over a half a million dollars - while great local talent (the reason people travel from all over the world) was insulted with payments as low as $200 for a four piece band.

Someone please explain this to me.

1999 Jazzfest was one of the best and most well attended Jazzfests ever. I credit this success in part to the incredible "piano" lineup on the second Saturday, which included Dr, John, Ray Charles, Jay McShann and a fabulous reunion of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholemew. Now THAT's a lineup worth traveling to see.

The Fest folks need to take some chances and keep things interesting. Like the old days.

Quint Davis, where are you?

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