Austin Scaggs of Rolling Stone files a report from this year’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans. The first Jazz Fest since Hurricane Katrina, there’s been a heavy spotlight and anticipation on what will happen at this year’s event. From rumors to mild criticism (The New York Times recently ran a feature on the lack of hip-hop at the festival), Jazz Fest is a hot topic in American concert scene this week. It continues through next weekend. Scaggs’ report is a thorough one, full of highlights. Possibly my favorite: U2’s the Edge sitting in with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in their historic (and tiny) club. Here’s an excerpt from the full report:
On Friday, April 29th, seemingly unfazed by the horrific onslaught of Hurricane Katrina (known as “The K Word” down here) Jazz Fest went on, and music fans from all over the world converged at the racetrack here for three days of music featuring gospel, blues, zydeco, Indian groups, as well as superstars like Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Springsteen, who debuted his Seeger Sessions backing band on the main stage with a dramatic set on Sunday afternoon.
Inside the racetrack, the effects of Katrina were relatively unnoticeable. Those returning to Jazz Fest this year would notice nothing amiss: Volunteers manned food stands, pumping out po’boys, fried frogs’ legs and almond-encrusted catfish; the brewskies flowed; the weather was flawless, hot and breezy, with a few sprinkles on Saturday.