Jazz Fest returns with diverse music scene



Michael Doucet plays his violin at the Fais Do-Do stage at the 2015 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Nick Reimann, staff writer

Fans headed to Jazz Fest in 2016 will be treated to a star-studded lineup, headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Stevie Wonder.

The festival will be held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds over two weekends, April 22 through April 24 and April 28 through May 1, and features performances from both wellknown international bands and local artists.

Matthew Goldman, director of marketing with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, believes that this year’s festival should be on the calendar of any music fan.

“You saw the list of bands, which says more than anything,” Goldman said. “People may not be jazz fans, and they see ‘Jazz Fest’ so they don’t get it. Not everybody’s a jazz fan, but when you see Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam and the Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Snoop, you see it’s not a jazz festival.”

Gordon Towell, coordinator of Jazz Studies at Loyola and performer with the Loyola Jazz Band at Jazz Fest 2015, agrees that the festival has grown by having a wide variety of musical genres.

“It’s a nice cross-section of music, it’s not just a jazz festival anymore,” Towell said.

But despite the festival moving away from its roots, Towell still feels that Jazz Fest ranks among the best festivals for jazz music.

“I think it’s probably one of the nation’s top festivals for jazz and roots and heritage music. It’s obviously morphed into something more than just New Orleans jazz and heritage, but it’s got so many strong acts and great attendance figures, things like that. I think it’s one of the top festivals,” Towell said.

Jimmy Guardiola, music education sophomore, who has never before attended Jazz Fest, feels that this year’s lineup makes the festival worth seeing.

“I’m very excited to see Stevie Wonder as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” Guardiola said. “Snarky Puppy is a great band that I already saw live and I’m excited to see them again. Also Paul Simon, of course, of Simon and Garfunkel. It’s a very great lineup.”

Along with the headliners, the festival has many local connections, including some from Loyola. Tony Dagradi, saxophone professor, will be performing with his band Astral Project; he has performed with them at every Jazz Fest since 1978. Loyola students will also be involved, as the Loyola Jazz Band will be returning to perform at this year. Jazz Fest 2016 will be the festival’s 47th edition.