It’s that time of year again.
I’ve been trying to muster up some enthusiasm for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I’ve been trying for years. But somehow I never seem to work myself up into the appropriate fervor. And if I am lacking in enthusiasm, Xy is downright negative.
When I admit that we are not members of the true faith, people look at us with a mixture of disbelief, disgust and horror. How can this be? How can we not be excited about Jazz Fest?
I do not hate Jazz Fest. I’m just not a big fan. But that is tantamount to heresy in these parts, and I have been scolded for it repeatedly. Indeed the opprobrium is so severe that I have looked deep into my heart, to try to fathom this mystery.
My first problem is the lineup. It is overwhelmingly huge. My eyes glaze over after reading fifty names I barely recognize, and the list goes on and on. I recognize the big acts — who hasn’t heard of Bruce Springsteen? But that brings me to my second problem: the music. I’m sure it’s great stuff for what it is, but it’s not my favorite music. Furthermore, we hardly ever go out to see live music anymore. When we do, I’d prefer an intimate club to the sprawling festival scene.
My third and biggest problem is the price. $40 to get in the gate pretty much excludes a casual visit. I’ll grant you that it’s a bargain in terms of the number of acts you can get to see, but of course that is only true if you make a day of it. I don’t want to make a day of it. I just want to stop by for an hour or two, wander around and see what I’m missing.
There’s some great eating to be had at the Jazz Fest. But you know what? We hit the booths at the French Quarter Fest last weekend and enjoyed some good food and local music. The difference was that admission was free, and we were in the French Quarter, not the Fair Grounds. Besides which, I can eat pretty well any day of the year. I live in New Orleans.
To be fair, I should note that we went last year and had a blissful experience. But we scored free tickets, and only stayed for a couple hours. I’d like to duplicate that experience, but I’m not sure we wanna shell out $100+ for lunch.