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Unfestive Ruminations

Jazzfest crowds 10 Photo by SDWolfpup

It’s that time of year again. Jazz Fest. I know it’s here because casual conversation takes a turn. People ask: “Goin’ to the Fest?” And of course I can never give a simple answer when a more complicated one will do.

My objections are three-fold.

First, this is not my music. Don’t get me wrong — there’s a lot of great music on the bill, really topnotch stuff. But Jazz Fest music tends toward the earthy and rootsy and authentic. My taste, if you can call it that, runs in the opposite direction. I tend to like stuff that’s artsy and alienated and weird. If I came up with a list of musical acts I’d actually be excited about seeing, it would consist of names that will never be seen in the Jazz Fest program.

(Whenever I mention this, people naturally ask for a “f’r’instance.” Rather than compile a list of ten or a hundred artists, I’ve concluded that citing one single band might be more efficacious. So, ladies and gentlemen, I offer Déficit Des Années Antérieures for your consideration. They were an avant-garde experimental French band “with few noticeable influences” and so must be heard to be appreciated. Granted they’re thirty years defunct, I think, but the idea’s the important thing.)

Second point. Even if one of my supposedly “favorite artists” was playing in town tomorrow, I don’t know that I’d run out to see them. I just don’t get out to see live music much these days. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I went out to go see some music live. Probably last year’s Fest, come to think of it.

Point the third: But if I was to seek out some live local music, it would not gravitate to a music festival, and certainly not an expensive all-day festival at the Fairgrounds. I don’t find supersized music festivals all that festive. There are plenty of people around here who go to the Fest all day, every day. I’m frankly amazed by the endurance of those people. I don’t know how they do it. It just seems like an awful lot of work to me. I’d rather see live music in a small intimate venue.

Of course, it must be noted that when we have gone to the Fest in the past we have generally enjoyed ourselves. We’re just too cheap to justify buying tickets ourselves. So the perceptive reader will discern the true purpose of this post: whoring for free tix.

Anybody got some?

Published inMusic & AudioNew Orleans


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