Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm not going to Jazz Fest this year

The great Herb Hardesty, longtime lynchpin of the Fats Domino Band

Barbara Lynn with her left-handed Strat (thanks, Kevin).

When I heard the announcement earlier this year that Jon Bon Jovi would be added to the JazzFest line-up this year, I felt relieved. I knew I wouldn't be going, I can't even begin to afford or justify a trip like that right now, but the inclusion of Jon Bon Jovi angered me so much that I knew I could claim musical boycott and feel noble.

Okay, I'm a snob, a big-time music snob, a music fascist, as a former friend once pointed out. I may prefer the more genteel description of purist, but you know, whatever. There I am. So the thought of Jon Bon Jovi, James "I'm so sensitive" Taylor, Joe "Sloppy Drunk" Cocker, Dave Matthews, and the unbelievably pretentious John Mayall playing at Jazz Fest makes me want to spew. Yeah, that's right, it makes me literally nauseous. If these people were playing a festival down the street from me and I got free tickets, backstage passes and an invite to get trashed with Joe, I still wouldn't go.

But the worst is Jon Bon Jovi, former New Jersey hairdresser. And he replaced Aretha when she pulled out! Jon Bon Jovi! What does Bon Jovi have to do with New Orleans? Absolutely nothing.

Quint Davis, who used to manage Professor Longhair but sold out around the time he began dating Linda Ronstadt has explained that the Fest needs these big name acts to stay afloat, that they bring in the corporate sponsorship (read "big bucks") that helps pay for the New Orleans artists that people like me want to hear.

And I can buy that... I didn't get this upset when Rod Stewart headlined two years ago, or when Bruce Springsteen came through. I just went to another part of the grounds and saw Pharoah Sanders and the Meters (the original Meters) respectively. And, yes, among the other non- New Orleans acts this year is Tony Bennett whom I'd give my eye teeth to hear (as if teeth had any value these days), and Etta James who still sounds exactly like Etta James.

But, Jeese... Jon Bon Jovi?

These photographs are from last year's Fest, just a little smattering of shots before the rains came. I hope you enjoy them.


Unknown said...

I know, I know...but hey, John's from Jersey! And he's a nice guy! And did I mention he's from Jersey...



Bret Littlehales said...

Okay, Jersey Girl... Not all Jerseyites transplant to New Orleans as well as you do.