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2018 Brass Passes are On Sale [Sep. 5th, 2017|03:38 pm]

WWOZ has started selling Brass Passes for Jazzfest 2018.  The price is currently $575.  This gets you admission to Jazzfest for each of the 7 days (including re-entry privileges), plus entry into the on site WWOZ hospitality tent, where you'll find complimentary iced coffee, water, and fresh fruit.

There's no real benefit to buying quite this soon, but there are reasons to buy early.

  • The passes do sometimes sell out.  Last fest, they sold out in mid-April.

  • They haven't announced regular ticket prices for 2018 yet.  That should come when they announce the performers in (probably) January.  But if the gate price does increase, the brass pass typically increases also.

  • A portion of the cost is tax deductible.  (Last year, the deductible amount was $165).  If you buy the pass by December 31, you can use that deduction for this year's taxes.

And, of course, the brass pass purchase benefits WWOZ, a worthy cause for any music lover.

Info and purchase at https://www.wwoz.org/brass-pass-how-we-do-jazz-fest.
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Jazzfest News and Notes [Aug. 23rd, 2017|11:18 am]
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Thinking about next year's Jazzfest during these dog days of summer...

Alison Fensterstock had a nice article for NPR this week on the evolution of Jazzfest, and what sets it apart from other music festivals around the country.
...As the festival looks at 50, a milestone it'll hit in 2019, it also must face the fact that it's essentially cycled through a full generation of performers, and also of audience. The Louisiana music icons it was launched to celebrate have begun to submit to the passage of time, and the fans who first showed up to support them may be less thrilled about long days in the sun — or the arrival of acts like Lorde, Kings of Leon and Meghan Trainor, all of whom played the 2017 festival this spring. If Jazz Fest were a person, it would be in late middle age, winding down a bit, less up for a party — but of course, that's not how festivals work. Each year, its organizers have to consider how to attract new fans, book acts that reflect its spirit, and maintain its symbiotic, passionate relationship with America's most eccentric city.

Read the rest here: As Jazz Fest Looks At 50, What Keeps It Alive?

The Jazz and Heritage Foundation announced a new series of free monthly concerts at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center on Rampart St. Two of the events will be held during Jazzfest, which makes them the first confirmed gigs for Fest 2018. Set times for these fest shows are 9:30 and 11:30 pm.
Saturday, April 28    Donald Harrison
Saturday, May 5      Naydja CoJoe, Nayo Jones and Mykia Jovan

And one travel note. For those of you who prefer Southwest Airlines for your Jazzfest flights, get ready to start shopping. The Southwest website notes that "We are currently accepting air reservations through April 6, 2018. On August 28, 2017 we will open our schedule for sale through June 1, 2018. This date is subject to change! Please check back frequently."

It's perhaps less critical than it used to be to buy right when the schedule opens, since they no longer have a limited number of free flight awards, and since prime flights may have discounted fares blocked from the outset. But for those who do want first crack, set your alarms for early on Monday — the extension usually comes during the 5 am hour (Central Time).

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Lyft begins service at New Orleans airport [Jul. 26th, 2017|10:36 pm]

Uber X has served Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport (MSY) for a couple of years now.  But until now, even though they're available in the rest of the area, Lyft has not.  That changes, effective tomorrow.

Lyft will now serve the airport legally for both drop offs and pick ups.  The pricing is the same as Uber X:  it's a $33 flat rate for trips to or from most of New Orleans. 

This is welcome news.  I've long advocated having both Uber and Lyft installed and ready to use when you visit New Orleans, since when things get busy, you never know which app will offer an available car first, or have a lower surge or prime time rate.

For those who live here, or who are visiting in the next month, you can add promo code MSYAIR17 in the Lyft app to save $10 off your first rides to or from the airport until 8/25/17.  This is valid for both new and existing Lyft users.

New Lyft users can save $20 ($5 off your first 4 rides, valid anywhere, within 2 weeks of signing up),  with my invite code SWAGLAND.  


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Hilton Garden Inn $73 [Jul. 21st, 2017|10:38 am]
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For those who tried for but missed the Chateau deal earlier this week, here's another deal that may be of interest.  Not as cheap as the Chateau was, but still a very nice price.

Via Hotwire:
Th 4/26 — Tu 5/01 3.5* WH @ $73 => Hilton Garden Inn Convention Center

It looks like the same deal is also available for 2nd weekend.  Prices may vary a few dollars based on your exact dates.

What looks like the same hotel is also available on Priceline Express, even a buck or two cheaper for some dates.  It may even be worth trying a Priceline name-your-own-price bid to do even better.

As always, get Priceline and Hotwire tips and see detailed Jazzfest results at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html

 My Priceline affiliate link

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Chateau Hotel $37 either weekend [Jul. 18th, 2017|12:11 pm]
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Here's a jaw-dropper.

Via Hotwire:
Th 4/26 — Su 4/29 3* FQM @ $37=> Chateau Hotel

It looks like the same price is also available for 2nd weekend.  

I believe this is the lowest price I've ever seen for Jazzfest weekend nights in a hotel in the French Quarter.

That said, the reviews for the hotel are somewhat mixed, so look those over before booking.   This is a hotel that I've not ever heard of (even though it's apparently been around under the same name for many years), so I have no experience with or opinion of the quality.  But the price surely can't be beat.

This deal won't last.  Even if the rate is not a mistake, it's a small property, just 49 rooms, so the discounted rooms will sell out quickly.

As always, get Priceline and Hotwire tips and see detailed Jazzfest results at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html

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Jazzfest 2018 - Staybridge Suites $120 [Jul. 4th, 2017|04:39 pm]
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Jazzfest is still about 10 months away, but we've got our first reported hotel deal.

Via Priceline Express Deals:
We 4/25 - We 5/02 3* CC @ $120=> Staybridge Suites

It looks like the same deal is also available for 2nd weekend.  The rates increase for shorter stays.

As always, get Priceline and Hotwire tips and see detailed Jazzfest results at http://jazzfest.swagland.com/bidding.html.

My Priceline affiliate link.
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2017 Jazz Fest Redux, and 2018 Planning [May. 30th, 2017|05:59 pm]
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Offbeat Magazine's June issue is out, and as usual, it includes their "Jazz Fest Redux".  It's my perrenial favorite writeup - I like the format, where a half dozen or so contributors' moments and memories of the fest are intertwined.  Alex Johnson kicks it off like this:

“Happy Fest” is a springtime greeting in New Orleans, our own kind of “Aloha.” People say it to start a conversation and again to depart. I heard this greeting a hundred times this festival season around town. I heard dog-walking neighbors say it during the week in the streets. Outside the Fair Grounds, street performers and Mid-City residents with packed porches and open doors shared it with the streams of people converging near the entrance. I heard it in cheers at logjams in the streams where people clogged around trays of jello shots. Inside the Fair Grounds I saw parties split ways saying “Happy Fest” as they went to different stages. It’s a greeting that comes commensurate with a smile.

Read the rest at http://www.offbeat.com/articles/jazz-fest-redux-3/

The June issue also serves as an annual reminder that next year's Jazzfest is only 11 months away.  So if you're attending in 2018, now is the time to start (or at least start looking at) travel planning.

The legacy airlines (Delta, United, American) sell tickets 11 months in advance, so flights for Jazzfest will go on sale in the coming days.  For paid tickets, the lowest prices may come later, but if you can commit to dates, start looking now, and if you see a price you like, go for it.  Price increases seem to come more often than sales.  And if you're hoping to get an award ticket at the lowest/saver lever, definitely look as soon as your dates go on sale.

Likewise, for hotels, most offer reservations 11 or more months in advance, so start shopping now, and at least try to lock in whatever you can find that has a liberal cancelation policy.  Then you can keep shopping over the months ahead for something better.
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The Best-Selling Records During Jazz Fest 2017 [May. 30th, 2017|05:46 pm]

Offbeat has the list of the 10 best selling discs from Louisiana Music Factory (on Frenchmen St) and Euclid Records (in the Bywater).

The lists are completely different.  Read into that what you will.


Louisiana Music Factory

  1. Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony (Blue Note)

  2. Jon Cleary: Live at Chickie Wah Wah (FHQ Records)

  3. Preservation Hall Jazz Band: So It Is (Sony Legacy)

  4. Anders Osborne: Flower Box (Independent)

  5. Chloe Feoranzo and Tom McDermott: Zeppelins Made To Order (Rabadash Records)

  6. John Mooney: Truth of the Matter (Independent)

  7. Erica Falls: Home Grown (Independent)

  8. Little Freddie King: You Make My Night (MadeWright Records)

  9. Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes: Sketch (Independent)

  10. John “Papa” Gros: River’s on Fire (Uncle Bud’s Music)

Euclid Records

  1. King James & the Special Men: Act Like You Know (Independent) (LP)

  2. Allen Toussaint: The Allen Toussaint Collection (Nonesuch) (2 LPS)

  3. 79rs Gang: Fire on the Bayou (Sinking City Records) (CD and LP)

  4. Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Navigator (ATO) (CD and LP)

  5. Various Artists: Trail Riderz Vol. 1 (Apex of the Universe) (Cassette)

  6. Luke Spurr Allen featuring the Happy Talk Band: Pothole Heart (Chicken Little) (CD)

  7. Alex McMurray: Sings His Greatest New Orleans Hits (Velvety Pod) (CD)

  8. Tuba Skinny: Owl Call Blues (Independent) (CD and LP)

  9. Lily Keber: Bayou Maharajah: The Life and Music of New Orleans Piano Legend James Booker (Cadiz Music) (DVD)

  10. Guitar Lightnin’ Lee and His Thunder Band: Little by Little (Norton Records) (45)

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2017 Attendance numbers, and 2018 Dates [May. 10th, 2017|05:26 pm]
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Keith Spera of the Advocate reports:

Attendance for the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival totaled approximately 425,000, organizers said Wednesday.

That amount is the same as the 2016 attendance figure. Rain cut into ticket sales for both this year's and last year's festivals.

In 2015, Jazz Fest -- officially it is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell -- drew an estimated 460,000 attendees, the highest total since Hurricane Katrina.

Overall Jazz Fest attendance has still not rebounded to its pre-Hurricane Katrina levels.

In 2001, the estimated attendance was 650,000. That figure was boosted by what may have been the biggest single day in festival history, featuring the Dave Matthews Band and New Orleans rapper Mystikal, who was then at the peak of his popularity.

Matthews was back at the Fair Grounds in 2017, but as part of an acoustic duo with Tim Reynolds.

The only main Acura Stage act this year to fully fill the field and the large green bleachers at the back of it was Stevie Wonder.

Steady rains on the first Sunday delayed the festival's opening by four hours and diminished what likely would have been an enormous crowd for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

That day's rain depressed attendance overall on the first Sunday. Pitbull, who was to have closed the Congo Square Stage that evening, cancelled his show, reportedly because the day's storms prevented him from flying to New Orleans.

Contemporary R&B singer Usher, backed by "The Tonight Show" house band the Roots, as well as annual favorite Frankie Beverly & Maze filled the Congo Square Stage field. But that space is considerably smaller than the Acura Stage field.

The dates for the 2018 Jazz Festival, the 49th overall, are set for April 27 to May 6.


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Heavy Overnight Rain [May. 3rd, 2017|11:38 pm]

Rain hit the New Orleans area starting late morning Wednesday.  The 10 pm local news said that 2-3 inches had fallen at that time.  But it's been raining heavily since then in the Fairgrounds neighborhood, and several more hours are likely.  Another 2-3 inches are forecasted, and from what I see outside my window, the high end of that range seems likely.  That would mean a 24 hour total of as much as 6 inches.

The good news is that the rain is supposed end by mid morning Thursday, with decreasing cloudiness in the afternoon.  So umbrellas won't be needed in the afternoon, but boots may be another story.  The Fairgrounds drainage is actually pretty good, and conditions are usually markedly better if it has time to drain before tens of thousands of Jazzfest attendees start stomping the puddles into mud.  Last Sunday was good evidence of that.  Still, this is a LOT of rain.  Conditions may be pretty muddy.

If you don't wear boots, do wear shoes you don't mind getting dirty.  And avoid flip flops, which get easily stuck in the mud when the track gets wet.  Mud or not, it will be much cooler than a usual Fest day, with temperatures likely staying below 70, and a strong northwest wind.

My advice, have the boots ready, and watch the local news in the morning for any live ealy reports from the fest.  I'll also try to find out what conditions are like, and if I hear anything, it'll be posted to the Swagland Facebook page.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday look to be lovely.
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