I have finally experienced Jazz Fest, and what an awesome experience it was!
I’ve lived in Louisiana since the Fall of 2009, and never once have I been able to attend this highly touted music festival…until now. After having heard about the incredible lineup including Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Ocean, John Mayer and so many more, I was sold. Then I discovered that one of my all-time favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac, would also be playing there as a part of their current tour around the world. My jaw hit the floor. Most everyone knows “You can go on your way,” “Landslide,” “Rhianon,” and any other number of Mac’s numerous #1 hits. They are a band that brings people of all ages together based solely off of how classic and well-known their music is. No rap, country or dub step in sight; just pure, old-fashioned, classic rock. Needless to say, I bought a ticket immediately.
So, on May 4th at 12:30pm, I journeyed to the race track in New Orleans and made my way into the crowded, muddy, festival that end up being one of the best days of my entire life. It was beautiful. The entire track was redesigned with music lovers in mind. Multiple stages and tents covered the grounds; some bigger, some smaller, but all featuring both well-known and up-and-coming artists. Rows of food tents lined the sides of the track for hundreds of yards, filled to the brim with the finest of creole cuisine…crab cakes, jambalaya, pasta, crawfish, and gumbo. I had a hot sausage po’boy, crab cake, and crawfish etouffee’ and it was all delicious.
But people don’t go to Jazz Fest for the food, or at least not entirely for the food; they go there for the music, and it did not disappoint. The headliners for the day were Frank Ocean, Mute Math, Galactic, Little Big Town and, of course, Fleetwood Mac. Mute Math was great, even though I wasn’t familiar with their music, and Little Big Town impressed me with their stellar performance. And it goes without saying that Fleetwood Mac killed it. They definitely still know how to put on an absolutely fantastic show! They played on the festival’s biggest stage and they performed for around ten thousand people. People were literally up against the fences lining the outside of the festival from almost 3/4 of a mile away from the stage. Luckily, I got there early and was only about 20 yards away from the stage. I was able to see Buckingham, Nicks, McVie and Fleetwood in all of their aged glory. Their opening with “Secondhand News” nearly had me in tears of excitement. When they played “Landslide,” easily one of their best and most well-known songs, my whole Jazz Fest experience was made within the 3 minute length of that beautiful song. For that three minutes, every single one of the ten thousand sang along with the band, smiling and, many, crying. It was such a cool moment to be a part of, and it truly made my time at Jazz Fest that much better. Check out this short clip of the magic:
In closing, I think the best thing about Jazz Fest isn’t just the music or the food, but rather the experience they all create in tandem. Being around thousands of other people, not worrying about a thing, and having fun listening to your favorite types of music is an experience that not many people get. New Orleans does it right. Great music, great food, and a great time; Jazz Fest was unlike anything I’d ever experienced and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!