The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has announced the 2014 festival lineup, and it's a big one. Fans from around the world will descend on New Orleans to see big-name acts like Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Santana, Arcade Fire, Phish, and Christina Aguilera perform alongside an enormous slate of Louisiana's finest musicians and artists, as well as lesser-known folk, rock, and roots acts from around the world.
JazzFest's organizers have been criticized in the past few years for straying further and further from the original focus of the festival, which was to present New Orleans and Louisiana music (primarily jazz, of course, but also all that other good stuff that comes from here) to an international audience. Indeed, a lot of those big headliners have few, if any, ties to New Orleans (the major exception being Bruce Springsteen, who has recorded with Louisiana musicians and has wowed JazzFest audiences before).
Still, at least according to the festival's organizers, it takes those big names to draw a lot of outsiders to the city for the festival. Once we get those visitors through the gates, we can hope that they wander off to one of the smaller festival stages and discover the wealth of local music that's on offer here. And if we can't hook 'em with the Fais-Do-Do stage, we'll get 'em with our Crawfish Monica, right? Plus, let's face it, it's fun for us locals to see Bruce Springsteen and Carlos Santana and the like in our own backyard.
I'll have more commentary on this year's JazzFest lineup in the coming weeks, including some recommendations for must-see local bands, must-eat dishes, things to do after hours, and more, but in the meantime, take a few minutes and gawk over the incredible full lineup, listed in day-by-day format over at The Gambit online.
JazzFest Gate Image © Doug Anderson, Creative Commons via Flickr