Check out the 2012 Jazz Fest Cubes HERE
This morning, the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival unveiled the schedule cubes at the annual “Month-Out” Press Party held at the Fair Grounds, signifying that the fest is only a month away.
After a brief performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in the Fair Grounds paddocks, Jazz Fest Director Quint Davis immediately answered the question on everyone’s minds: He announced that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band would be taking over the coveted responsibility of closing down the Gentilly Stage on the festival’s final day. The spot was previously held by The Radiators, who played their Jazz Fest farewell set on May 8, 2011.
To commemorate its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band will invite a slew of special guests to join them, and Davis named a few, including My Morning Jacket’s Yim Yames, Ani Difranco, Bonnie Raitt and several more. Trombone Shorty, Shamarr Allen and very special guest Mayor Landrieu (on tambourine) then joined PHJB for an a.m. version of “Bourbon Street Parade,” followed by a few words from the mayor, Hasting Stewart of Shell and Nancy Marinovic. There followed a couple more songs by Pres Hall, some red beans and rice (courtesy of Zatarain’s) and a photo opp (see below) of the festival poster subjects posing in front of this year’s official Jazz Fest and Congo Square posters.
The first thing that jumps out from the cubes is the overall strength of the second Sunday, with the opportunity to see Rotary Downs, Red Stick Ramblers, Glen David Andrews, Galactic, funky METERS, The Bounce Shakedown with Big Freedia, Katey Red, Keedy Black and DJ Poppa, Foo Fighters, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Preservation Hall & Friends 50th Anniversary Celebration and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings all in the same day. It’s a pretty solid way to close down the 43rd year of Jazz Fest.The festival’s first Sunday also is totally stacked, anchored by the strength of a 2 1/2 hour set by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Besides The Boss on April 29, patrons can take in sets by Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, a very special “Tribute to Alex Chilton,” Bill Summers & Jazalsa, Dr. John & the Lower 911, Papa Grows Funk, Sonny Landreth, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians, Gary Clark Jr., Janelle Monae and Al Green, among others.
Now with a tangible schedule at our disposal, the “New Orleans version of 30 Days ’til Christmas” (as Davis described it) has officially started and the always-enjoyable task of strategically planning out seven days of festival-going begins.
Here are a few notable conflicts that jump out (trust me, people, these are good problems to have):Friday, April 27th: The Beach Boys Reunion (Acura) v. Bon Iver (Gentilly) v. Steel Pulse (Congo Square)
Saturday, April 28th: Midnite Disturbers (Jazz & Heritage) v. Carolina Chocolate Drops (Fais Do-Do) v. Bobby Rush (Blues Tent)
Sunday, April 29th: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Acura Stage) v. Janelle Monae (Gentilly Stage) v. Al Green (Congo Square)
Thursday, May 3rd: Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Acura) v. Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk (Gentilly)
Thursday, May 3rd: Eddie Vedder (Acura Stage) v. Florence + the Machine (Gentilly) v. Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society (Congo Square)
Friday, May 4th: Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. (Gentilly) v. Bunny Wailer (Congo Square)
Saturday, May 5th: My Morning Jacket (Gentilly) v. Herbie Hancock & his Band (WWOZ Jazz Tent) v. The Levon Helm Band with special guest Mavis Staples (Blues Tent)
Sunday, May 6th: The Neville Brothers (Acura) v. Preservation Hall & Friends 50th Anniversary Celebration (Gentilly) v. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Blues Tent) v. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly (Congo Square)As always, I’m gonna be splittin’ some time to catch multiple sets, but all in all just beholding this massive seven-day spreadsheet is a huge thrill in itself. Can’t wait!