Thousands headed down to New Orleans this past week, including many from Northern California, for the 42nd Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, featuring lots of local flavor, plus sets from touring headliners Arcade Fire, Lupe Fiasco, Kid Rock, The Strokes, and many more.
The great-granddaddy of newer festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and San Francisco’s own Outside Lands, the NOLA Jazz Fest brings tens of thousands of people from all over the world together for two long weekends with a lineup that covers multiple genres. In addition to hours of music, an amazing lineup of food competes for your attention — the best fried chicken this writer has ever had, po’ boys aplenty, gator with fried jalapenos & onions, seafood au gratin… the list goes on.
With no rain — reportedly for the first time in 12 years — and mild temperatures (for New Orleans standards), the crowds were thick this year with a literal gumbo of people of all ages and backgrounds. From local zydeco and brass bands to indie rock and hip hop, there was something for everyone.
Highlights from this past weekend included a set from Arcade Fire that drew a near-capacity crowd at the festival’s main stage, a leather-jacket clad Julian Casablanca (despite temperatures in the 80s) leading The Strokes through a headlining set, and James Brown’s former saxman Maceo Parker showing the crowd that he quite possibly has the funkiest and tightest band in the business.
It’s a bit of a trek from SF, and an endurance run if you hit up one of the many after parties that continue all night throughout the city (a thumping after-hours appearance from Rusko was one of many), but there is nothing quite like it in the world. Check out some photos from the show below, and click on the image for the full gallery.