Jazz fest

This is my third year attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It really is enormous and a lot different from the “ordinary” festivals in other places: add in the second lines, the New Orleans food, the party atmosphere, and the simply staggering number of stages and artists. Also the prospect for extreme weather, either in terms of rainfall or scorching sunshine.

Last year we brought both our kids; Millie went off with her friends while Lisa & I dragged the boy to see Bruce Springsteen at the ridiculously overcrowded Acura Stage. This year Lisa and dude stayed home and I took Millie with her friends. I avoided the Acura stage (where Elton John was headlining) and spent most of the time sitting in a folding chair reading Robert Gordon’s book about Stax, listening to a succession of mediocre performers while waiting for Ed Sheeran.

And Ed Sheeran was great. I’m a big fan. It feels real since it’s just him with the loop pedal, he can be a bit unscripted, and he’s got great energy and great tunes. But I realized something at this Jazz Fest, something I’ve kinda known for years, but have been in denial about because, you know, one likes to try to get in the spirit of things. But the fact is this: I hate music festivals. Bad sound, way, way too many people, wars over your little patch of grass, bad overpriced food, long lines for food and bathrooms: what is enjoyable about this? Well, for some people, the music, I suppose. For me it’s not worth it. There, I said it. It seems ungrateful, in a way, since my career for a long time depended on the fact that other people, bless their hearts, enjoy this sort of thing. But it’s not my bag, baby.


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