By the second day, Jazz Fest felt like it was settling down into a routine. Of course, our sunburns from the day before remind us to slather on powerful sunscreen. For some reason the sunlight in NOLA seems awesomely intense and, unlike many other festivals, Jazz Fest only happens in the daytime – there are no nighttime shows where you can escape the sun and heat. That said a quick look at the crowds lends credence to the theory that strap marks and sunburns can be worn as fashion statements too.
The level of talent in Jazz Fest’s lineup is so strong that you don’t really need a schedule – you can just randomly drop into any stage and be surprised by a band you don’t know. By the end of the second day, we also had a big surprise in finding two stages that we hadn’t visited – Jazz Fest is really that big and full of so many things. The highlights of the lineup continue to be amazingly strong and Saturday featured performances by Irma Thomas, Robert Cray, Amos Lee, Jason Mraz, and Bon Jovi. But the real treat was the headliners of a smaller stage, the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage. There we discovered Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. This great band was clearly the local favorite as the crowd danced and sang along to New Orleans standards such as “When the Saints Go Marching In.” If you want to have real fun, go to see the Zydeco band and dance with the locals.
Photos by Steve Hopson