Partying for all the wrong reasons, but still partying …The Washington Post

We get Cinco de Mayo wrong. But we’re not wrong to celebrate it.

Mexicans dressed as French Army officers walk in a parade ahead of a reenactment of the battle of Puebla between Zacapoaxtla Indians and the French army in the Penon de los Banos neighborhood of Mexico City, May 5, 2015. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of an ill-equipped Mexican army over French troops in Puebla on May 5, 1862. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

May 3

Some of history’s most significant what-ifs lie buried beneath layers of misunderstanding. So it is with Cinco de Mayo.

This annual celebration of Mexican culture gets bigger every year, fueled mainly by America’s love of a good party. Folks who aren’t from Mexico are often surprised to learn, as they quaff margaritas or savor tacos al carbon, that the holiday matters much less south of the border. Many mistakenly believe that May 5 is Mexican Independence Day, but that’s Sept. 16 .

But it’s entirely appropriate that Cinco de Mayo matters more in the United States. The event commemorated on this holiday was a triumph of Mexican spirit and courage. For us, though, it just might have saved our nation.

When the future of the United States was threatened by the secession of 11 Southern states in 1860-1861, Confederate strategists looked for help in two directions. One was Europe; the other was Mexico. Europe’s textile mills ran on Southern cotton. By cutting off the supply with an embargo, the rebels hoped to force France and Britain to recognize Southern independence. Mexico, meanwhile, was a potential ally — or maybe even a future member of the new Confederacy.

These two ideas came together in the early months of the Civil War, when a coalition of European powers sent an armed force to collect debts from the Mexican government. Abraham Lincoln’s diplomats scrambled for a way to pay the debts to keep Mexico happy and encourage the Europeans to leave. But Congress shortsightedly refused to provide the money.

As 1861 came to an end, only the French remained, camped on the Gulf Coast. French Emperor Napoleon III , nephew of the famous general, rued his uncle’s decision to sell French holdings in North America to Thomas Jefferson more than 50 years earlier. He decided to topple the Mexican government and reestablish Parisian power in the Americas.

So in the spring of 1862, the French began marching toward Mexico City, with the Confederate rebels cheering them on. After conquering Mexico, the French would be perfectly positioned to ally with the South and tip the balance of the Civil War.

The road from the port of Veracruz to Mexico City covered several hundred uphill miles. Roughly midway, a steep valley narrowed to a single passage below a towering volcanic peak. Here lay the city of Puebla, through which all traffic to the capital had to go.

A young Mexican general, Ignacio Zaragoza, placed a small, tough force at Puebla and scoured the countryside for volunteers to bolster the defense. A long trench was added to the city’s existing fortifications. Some 4,500 men occupied this position on May 5, when 6,000 French troops under Major General Charles de Lorencez came up the valley.

The overconfident French nobleman ordered an immediate attack. Zaragoza’s riflemen found easy targets as de Lorencez’s soldiers charged the trenches. Those Frenchmen who survived the climb met savage hand-to-hand fighting at the Mexican trenches.

A second charge also failed. As Union and Confederate generals would soon learn on battlefields from Corinth, Miss., to Gettysburg, a ferocious foe in an entrenched position had a tremendous advantage. The bloody field filled with French bodies.

When a third charge also failed, Zaragoza unleashed his cavalry on both flanks of the retreating French. The battle became a rout, and de Lorencez fell back all the way to Veracruz, where he counted his losses (as many as 500 killed and wounded) and waited to be reinforced from back home.

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For 50 Years, Quint Davis Has Never Let New Orleans’ Jazz Fest ‘Go Down’

May 4, 20197:00 AM ET

Quint Davis, photographed during the funeral of Theodore Emile “Bo” Dollis, Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias, at Xavier Convocation Center on January 31, 2015 in New Orleans.

Erika Goldring/Getty Images



Each year, Quint Davis commissions two aerial photographs of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s massive operation at the Fair Grounds Race Course in Mid-City. The first is a still life: Passels of white tents and purple, green and gold bleachers are easily visible in the frame, grass is still growing in front of the food booths and the stages look quiet. The outside track encircling the field is, if not pristine, nearly so. Without horses or people, it has a moat-like quality, making the distance between the grandstand and, say, the stables, a matter of navigational skill — dead reckoning on dry land. It’s a rendering of possibility.

The second image is of possibility fulfilled. In his conference room across town, Davis — who has worked on the festival since 1969 and been its chief steward for more than two decades — has in his hands that fulfillment. Taken in 2017, the aerial shot he’s holding shows what peak attendance looks like on the fairgrounds. On that final Sunday, the constellation of tents and booths is obscured by a dense swell of humanity — festivalgoers, Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Club members, musicians, festival workers, press. It’s a microsecond in time, capturing as many as 90,000 people in a vibrant, pointillist mass. It’s what a half century of dreaming and tweaking, cajoling and imploring, risking and revering has wrought.

Davis is especially eager to take in the scene. The conference room at Festival Productions Inc. — New Orleans, on the 22nd floor of the One Canal Place tower, is festooned with all manner of Jazz Fest images. But the pictures he likes best are of populated landscapes. He has a 1970 shot of Mahalia Jackson with the Eureka Brass Band at the original venue near the French Quarter, when the musicians were said to have outnumbered the audience. Then there’s that super duper Sunday in 2017 on the fairgrounds; nearly half a million people attended the festival that year.

“My whole career is a testament to what you can do when you don’t know any better,” Davis says, staring into the photo. He didn’t originate the idea for a “jazz and heritage” festival in New Orleans. George Wein, founder and producer of the Newport Jazz and Folk festivals, did that. But in 1969, when Wein was looking for scouts in New Orleans to book local talent, Davis was one of the people he hired. Davis, whose father was the modernist architect Arthur Q. Davis, knew the kind of local music that Wein did not yet know — and was willing to work for a song.

Child’s Play

Some of Davis’ earliest connections to popular music were made under his shirt. That’s where, as a child in the 1950s, he hid the cord connecting his brand new transistor radio to his ear. He’d take it to school. He’d take it to bed. “And wake up in the morning and it was still there and it was still going,” he said. “So it was in my subconscious at night.” Growing up in a house with what he called “non-musical” parents, the young, white, tow-haired Quint was listening to black music on AM stations: WLAC out of Nashville was a bedtime favorite of generations of listeners; WWEZ was the first station in New Orleans to hire an African-American DJ; then WMRY and WBOK were the first to design their programming for a black audience. Much of their programming featured golden-era artists of New Orleans R&B — Deacon John, Tommy Ridgley, Irma Thomas — some of the same people who would play at the high school dances he would later attend.

At home, young Quint was spinning the few records his parents had and buying his own. He loved “Maybe the Last Time,” by James Brown and the Famous Flames. Also, “I had this 45 on the Kent label” he said. “It was ‘Rock Me Baby,’ by B.B. King. I would go downstairs in the house — at that time we had record players. I would put the arm over, so it would play ‘Rock Me Baby’ over and over and over again.”

That was in the early 1960s, when live performers were electrifying the biggest venues in town: Jackie Wilson, Edwin Starr and Bobby “Blue” Bland at the Municipal Auditorium. Brown and the Famous Flames at City Park Stadium. Quint was there — dancing. Then, New Orleans photographer Jules Cahn invited him to come along when he shot Mardi Gras Indians on the streets at Carnival and again on St. Joseph’s Day. Quint was there — dancing. And when Cahn photographed the city’s social aid and pleasure clubs at their second-line parades, Quint was there too — dancing still. In a plaid shirt, jeans cut below the knee and tube socks. (Really. There’s film.)

In an era of racial integration, he was integrating in the opposite direction. “I was going to every Indian practice every Sunday,” he said. “I was going to every jazz funeral. I was going to every gospel show, I started going to some gospel churches. I was going out to [the predominantly black neighborhood] Shrewsbury and seeing blues players.”

Members of the Wild Red Flame Mardi Gras Indians, photographed during Jazz Fest in 2008.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images



He was a disinterested student. Two colleges in nearly as many years, Davis nurtured an abiding attraction to music that school rarely spoke to. The exception was Norma McCleod, a visiting ethnomusicologist at Tulane University in New Orleans and a specialist in West African music. “I was an acting major, but I took everything that she taught,” Davis said. “So for the first time, I started to see it from without — the role that music plays in society. Kind of like Prince Hal.”

Davis organized a concert at school, featuring his muses: piano player Willie Tee, saxophonist Earl Turbinton and the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians. He later produced the Wild Magnolias’ single “Handa Wanda,” now a staple of the Indian repertoire. There’s no overestimating the impact of McCleod’s visits to New Orleans. (Another of McCleod’s students became a co-founder of Tipitina’s, the Uptown nightclub created as a home base for Professor Longhair, a.k.a. Henry Roeland Byrd, a.k.a. “Fess.”)

“What Does a Producer Do?”

In 1969, Davis and Allison Miner from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University set about booking artists for what was then called the “New Orleans Jazz Festival and Louisiana Heritage Fair.” Hogan curator Dick Allen had recommended them to George Wein as the kind of young people a new festival needed. Wein encouraged them to think creatively and widely about the artists they’d include for the festival’s debut in 1970. So they did. “George said we needed Cajun and blues and gospel,” Davis said. “I had never been involved professionally in concerts. I just told him, ‘I know those people.’ ”

By all accounts, the 1970 Jazz Fest, at what was then called “Beauregard Square,” was an artistic, if not a commercial, success. The program featured intimate performances by the best local artists around — tiny stages under enormous live oaks, an upright piano in the grass, no microphone in the gospel tent. Men in ties and toupées. Women in pearls. Nuns. “You could have fit them on a school bus,” Davis recalled. “But I’ve personally shaken the hand of about 120,000 people who say they were at the first one.” In 1971, Wein and company repeated the experience in the same location, later re-named Congo Square. For that festival, Davis and Miner continued their work identifying and booking Louisiana acts for the daytime concerts. But they almost missed one.

“That’s how Longhair got discovered, because of George,” Davis said. “I took him to Indian practice at the H&R Bar [in Central City] and, as usual, it started late. We’re standing on the sidewalk and it’s Mardi Gras time. There’s a house that has, like, a little store in the front room. They had drinks and a little food and stuff — a storefront. And so, ‘Go To the Mardi Gras‘ comes on, Fess, and George says, ‘Who’s that?’ ”

That question changed history. “Fess” was Professor Longhair and he hadn’t been playing publicly for a decade. He’d been in ill health and was doing odd jobs to earn money — like sweeping the floor at a record shop near his house. And while other music lovers had sought him out over the years, his career was going nowhere. “(George) said, ‘Go find that person. That is somebody. And that is New Orleans.’ ”

Longhair’s 1971 performance at the festival re-ignited his career. It also helped establish him as the undisputed patron of all post-war New Orleans piano players. What’s more, Longhair’s popularity confirmed Wein’s vision — that the future success of the festival would be on the Louisiana Fair side, which was held during the day and featured mostly local artists, and not on the side of national acts. Wein had bet on the idea of high-caliber, homegrown artists combining the best tenets of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Louisiana artists would represent Louisiana’s one-of-a-kind cultural landscape by playing a wide variety of sublime, indigenous music. It worked. More people came. And when the festival moved to the fairgrounds in 1972, even more still. Soon, Fess was calling Davis “Quince.” And Wein was calling him a “natural producer.”

“I said, ‘What’s a producer,’ ” Davis remembers. “He said, ‘A producer is: If anything f***s up, it’s your fault.’ ”

The Feel of It

Fear of “f*** ups” may be the reason why festival photos without people give Davis the heebie-jeebies. They’re necessary for logistics, but, “a picture with no people in it? That’s horrible,” he said. “I want the perspective from one end to the other, looking down [over] the festival. So you have a feel of it.”

In the early years of Jazz Fest, Davis spent months away from New Orleans producing tours for Wein. He needed to get the feel of it. After all, producers can be visionaries, but they’re most often problem solvers. First up, 44 concerts in 42 days with Duke Ellington across Europe, and the Soviet Union. Then he took B.B. King through Europe and West Africa. “I was with these giants and they were allowing me to lead,” he said. “I was the production manager, the tour manager, the business manager. I would pick up the money, get cash and put it in my jeans — not in my pockets, in my jeans — ’til I got back to the hotel.”

Producing meant negotiating whatever realities were on the ground for touring musicians, whether it was political rumbling in Portugal, or a reluctant South African Airways during apartheid. Or, it meant going into — and getting out of — a Spanish prison with Chuck Berry. It was pushing vans filled with equipment up hills and using questionable bathrooms. It was seeing the sun rise twice in one day from two distant lands. It was sleeping head-to-head on cushions in an airport with the man who sang, “Rock Me Baby,” on that record back in New Orleans — the one that Davis had played over and over and over again.

“I never missed a show,” he says of those touring years.

B.B. King dubbed Davis, “General Custer.” But most everyone in New Orleans calls him “Quint.” That’s because — irrespective of title — Davis has become synonymous with a festival that he has produced for nearly two generations. Local people may not know what Wein did for the festival — or even Allison Miner, who began interviewing musicians on the fairgrounds and for whom that interview space is now named in tribute. They may not know the names of the eight New Orleans mayors who signed 50 years’ worth of proclamations welcoming festivalgoers, or exactly when Fess first played —or Pops Staples — or when the piano wizard James Booker ended his set saying, “For the last hour, you have been entertained by the great Eartha Kitt!” But they know Quint, a.k.a. Quince, General Custer, or — as the trumpet player Clark Terry called him, “Quinstville.”

That’s a wonderful thing when everybody’s happy. But the other side of leadership is being present when people are unhappy, as when the Afrikan American Jazz Festival Coalition challenged Quint, Wein and Festival Productions to include more local African-Americans in its decision-making and in commerce on the fairgrounds. From those tensions came the Congo Square Stage and marketplace (originally called “The Koindu Marketplace”) and, ultimately, a better standing for the festival in the majority-black city.

Yet another side of leadership is being around to fix what’s broken. And people who fix things for a living sure get a lot of calls. When the grandstand burned in 1993 and the owners needed to rebuild quickly, they called Quint. When it’s raining hard at the festival, and the staff needs guidance, they call Quint. When Hurricane Katrina hit, George Wein called Quint. And Quint Davis, with new production partners AEG and sponsorship from Shell, found a way. “There wasn’t one structure on the whole place, including the grandstand, that had a roof on it,” he said. “There was no plumbing. There was no electricity. There was no phones. There were no hotels for people to stay in. Our people that built the festival grounds came down and slept in barns. We’ve had challenges. But it’s just like me never missing a gig on tour. We never let it go down. That is where I have to lead.”

“Girls Were Crying”

The opening-day crowd of Jazz Fest in 2006, the first following Hurricane Katrina.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mike Doyle passes away in his sleep at 78 ~ Surfing

MAY 1, 2019 

Mike Doyle: a waterman that never lost his iconic smile | Photo: Doyle Surfboards

Legendary surfer Mike Doyle passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Gringo Hill, San José del Cabo, Mexico.

He was one of the first watermen of the modern era, and was struggling with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The regular-footer from Leucadia, California finished runner-up in the inaugural ISF World Surfing Championships, held in Manly Beach, in Australia. He lost the sport’s first world title to Midget Farrelly.

But Doyle was more than just a competent surfer. He was an all-around waterman, always involved in big wave surfing, paddleboarding, and even tandem surfing.

His unique wave riding style was an inspiration to all American surfers of the 1960s.

Mike Doyle was born in Los Angeles, in 1941, and started surfing as a goofy-footer, aged 13, at Manhattan Beach. In 1956, he switched to regular-footed mode at Malibu.

In 1956, the young rider worked as a stunt double on “Gidget,” the film that changed the mainstream perception of surfing.

Mike Doyle: he lived to surf and surfed to live | Photo: Doyle Surfboards

A Life Dedicated to Surfing

By the turn of the decade, Doyle was already learning to shape surfboards with Dale Velzy and Greg Noll.

The blond, tall surfer won several regional and national tandem surfing, paddleboarding and surfing titles – the 1968 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational is one of them – and secured various podium finishes at other relevant surfing events.

By the mid-1960s, Doyle was widely considered one of the best surfers on the planet. Why? Probably because he really enjoyed what he was doing, and got good at it.

“Live to surf, surf to live,” he once said.

His entrepreneurial spirit led to the creation of the surf wax, surfboard shaping, and the promotion of the monoski, which eventually gave birth to the snowboard.

In 1974, Mike teamed up with Tom Morey to create the first soft surfboard. The duo used the same materials featured in the early Morey Boogie bodyboards.

In 2013, Mike Doyle was inducted into both the Surfer’s Hall of Fame (2003, Huntington Beach) and Surfer’s Walk of Fame (2013, Hermosa Beach).

His surfing skills can be seen in “Surf Safari,” “Barefoot Adventure,” “Cavalcade of Surf,” “Strictly Hot,” and “Golden Breed.”

13 Standout Sets at a Milestone New Orleans Jazz Fest ~ NYT

The pianist Ellis Marsalis was part of the first Jazz Fest. This year his four musician sons — Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason — joined him to perform his own compositionsCredit Sophia Germer/Associated Press


NEW ORLEANS — If any popular-music festival was built to last an unbroken 50 years, it’s the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It was already looking back when it started in 1970, assembling a Louisiana Heritage Fair of music and food traditions to glorify connection and continuity. Many of the musical styles it brought together were already generations old. So what’s another half-century?

This year’s Jazz Fest, as everyone calls it, finished its first four-day weekend on Sunday (it continues May 2-5). It’s an institution dedicated to its home city’s particular local and regional culture: not a trademark revived for anniversaries, like Woodstock, or a reboot tied to a cherished name, like the Newport Folk Festival. Jazz Fest’s booking policy leans toward musicians who share something — funk, fiddles, accordions, carnivals, French and Afro-Caribbean connections — with Louisiana lore. And the festival’s physical layout is designed to encourage discoveries. The path from the two main stages to the blues, gospel and jazz tents leads past a Cultural Exchange Pavilion featuring world music and the Jazz & Heritage stage with performances by brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans’s miracles.

Jazz Fest has built its attendance in recent years by adding more pop hitmakers at the top of its bills. But where many pop festivals are simply run-throughs of touring road shows, Jazz Fest visitors tend to incorporate something of New Orleans, having local musicians sit in and savoring the city’s charms. For her appearance on Saturday, Katy Perry performed her hits, but she had her stage set emblazoned with exhortations from the New Orleans-born poet Cleo Wade, and she used the Soul Rebels brass band as a horn section. More than 300 groups performed in the festival’s first four days. I heard a fraction of them, but here are 13 of the standouts.

Carlos Santana touched on jazz, boogaloo and cumbia during his Jazz Fest set. Credit Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

Jazz Fest presents New Orleans music as both a polyglot cultural mix and as a fountainhead of ideas. Santana’s multifaceted, proudly bilingual blues-Latin-rock-jazz-pop catalog invokes its own migrations and fusions, now linked to messages of positive thinking and global healing. An extended set touched down periodically on hits, with Carlos Santana re-creating his familiar guitar solos only to take off from there. There was ample room for excursions into jazz, boogaloo, cumbia and even a hard-rock version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” sung by Cindy Blackman Santana, Carlos’s wife and the band’s indefatigable drummer. Trombone Shorty, from New Orleans, joined the band for an encore that free-associated through Jimi Hendrix, Swamp Dogg, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, “Fever” and the New Orleans piano standard “Big Chief.”

The pianist Ellis Marsalis was part of the first Jazz Fest. This year, his four musician sons — Wynton on trumpet, Branford on saxophones, Delfeayo on trombone and Jason on drums — joined him to perform his own compositions. The pieces traversed New Orleans jazz from slightly skewed traditionalism to knotty modernism; solos navigated every twist with brawn and panache. After featuring students from a music school established after Hurricane Katrina and named after Ellis Marsalis, the set concluded with the four sons raucously parading all around the jazz tent.

The New Orleans mainstay Irma Thomas wished Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones a speedy recoveryCredit Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

The soul hits Irma Thomas had from 1959 into the 1960s seesaw between womanly sass (“Don’t Mess With My Man”) and lovesick loneliness (“Ruler of My Heart”). They didn’t quite establish her as a nationwide star, but she became a New Orleans mainstay, and she still sings them with bluesy passion and a trumpetlike clarity. She wished Mick Jagger — whose heart surgery made the Rolling Stones drop out of Jazz Fest — a speedy recovery, but also reminded the crowd that she sang “Time Is on My Side” before he did. And when she moved into a medley of second-line songs and called for people to wave something in the air — handkerchiefs, hats — thousands of listeners happily obeyed.

Flashy, two-fisted piano players are central to the sound of New Orleans. “Piano Professors” was one of the many tribute sets that are increasingly part of Jazz Fest, as — over the last 50 years — mortality has claimed indispensable musicians like Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint and James Booker. Five of their students and inheritors showed what they’ve learned in a brisk set of impossible-sounding piano solos that demanded propulsion, depth and sparkle. Tom McDermott mastered fearsome Jelly Roll Morton compositions like the aptly-titled “Finger Breaker”; Davell Crawford, even brawnier and wilder, flung tremolos and glissandos all over the place in a Booker tribute. They’re local luminaries who are too little known outside New Orleans.

Bonnie Raitt first played at Jazz Fest in 1977. Credit Amy Harris/Invision, via Associated Press

Bonnie Raitt first played Jazz Fest in 1977 and has returned often. She praised it from the stage as a refuge for the “endangered species” of “roots music,” the blues, country, soul and funk that infuse her songs about love and honest acceptance. She augmented her band with two New Orleans-based keyboardists whom she has collaborated with through the years, Jon Cleary and Ivan Neville. And with Jazz Fest serendipity, she brought out Boz Scaggs — who had performed the night before — to join her and Cleary singing a Toussaint song all three have recorded, “What Do You Want the Girl to Do”; they turned it into a hymn.

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Jazz Fest at 50: The Stubbornness and Joy of New Orleans ~ NYT

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival has proved ambitious and resilient, surviving deficits, rainouts and the aftermath of hurricanes over its half-century history.  Credit Bryan Tarnowski for The New York Times


By Jon Pareles

It started small, half a century ago, but with a mission.

The first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was held in 1970 in Beauregard Square, previously and afterward known as Congo Square, where African drumming and dancing had persisted through the era of slavery. It was modeled on the traditional-music showcases at the Newport Folk Festival, but filled entirely with Louisiana’s own styles — jazz, blues, gospel, brass bands, zydeco, Mardi Gras Indians and much more. Duke Ellington, the only performer without Louisiana roots, was commissioned to write and perform a “New Orleans Suite.” Nearly two dozen food vendors offered jambalaya, étouffée and other specialties.

Tickets were $3. But only about 300 people showed up, and the overstocked vendors ended up feeding children from a nearby orphanage.


Roosevelt Sykes performing at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1970. Credit Michael P. Smith, via The Historic New Orleans Collection


Yet the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has proved ambitious and resilient: It has survived deficits, rainouts and the aftermath of hurricanes. As it enters its 50th official run on Thursday, Jazz Fest, as everyone calls it, has grown inseparable from the cultural ecosystem of its hometown, embracing the sounds of the city and welcoming outsiders to enjoy them.

“Jazz Fest is everything that you love about New Orleans to begin with,” said Ivan Neville, the keyboardist who made his first appearance there in 1977; he is performing this year with his band Dumpstaphunk and in the Foundation of Funk with the rhythm section of the Meters, the band co-founded in 1965 by his father, Art Neville. “It’s the most variety of music that you’ll ever see in one given place, so that’s first, and then the best food that you will ever eat in your entire life.”

In recent years, Jazz Fest has drawn between 400,000 and 500,000 attendees across its two extended weekends; its peak, in 2001, was 618,000. Festival organizers estimate that it brings $300 million into the New Orleans economy. This year’s event includes nationally known headliners and hitmakers, among them Katy Perry, J Balvin, Chris Stapleton, Diana Ross and Pitbull, as well as habitual Jazz Fest performers including Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffett, Al Green, Herbie Hancock and the Dave Matthews Band.

Yet while visiting attractions have boosted attendance, they have never defined the festival. Quint Davis, who has booked music for Jazz Fest since it began and is now the C.E.O. of Festival Productions-New Orleans, noted that this year’s lineup includes 688 groups, “and 600 of them are from New Orleans and South Louisiana.”


Jazz Fest has drawn between 400,000 and 500,000 attendees across its two extended weekends in recent yearsCredit Douglas Mason/Getty Images


That dedicated focus on the local is the core of the festival, which has bolstered the sublime stubbornness of New Orleans culture — where continuity is cherished and singular local customs are continued across generations — and brought worldwide appreciation to what were once just neighborhood festivities. “There’s no question that Jazz Fest has been the event that put New Orleans music on the map,” said Jan Ramsey, the publisher and editor in chief of the New Orleans music magazine OffBeat.

Jazz Fest has maintained its mandate because it operates far differently from other American festivals its size. Its music encompasses vintage jazz to chart-topping reggaeton; its audience is genuinely all-ages. It takes place in daylight, ending at 7 p.m. — which not only encourages visitors to seek out night life, but also rules out stage spectacles dependent on lights and video, emphasizing old-school musicianship instead.

More significantly, Jazz Fest is nonprofit, channeling revenues back into Louisiana music. “The mission of the festival all along has been to make a full circle,” Davis said. “To go back and support the culture that you’re promoting.”


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~  OTHER JAZZ FEST HISTORY  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jazz and Heritage and Then Some

Bryan Tarnowski for The New York Times

Bruce Springsteen, center, and members of the Seeger Sessions Band at New Orleans Jazzfest yesterday.CreditOzier Muhammad/The New York Times

Kiitella Project: 2019 UIAA ICE World Cup Denver



Hosted by The American Alpine Club, Denver held its first ever UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing competition this February. Kiitella created stainless steel bottle openers – with a jet-cut AAC logo and hand-stamped pewter label. Kiitella says, “Pounding solid rivets is so satisfying… and sending these little Colorado-made art pieces home with the burliest ice climbers in the world is pretty fun.”