NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Another eclectic mix musical acts — old and new, large and small and from a variety of genres — continues as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival rolls into its final weekend.
Chicago, the enduring pop-rock band founded in 1967 in the city of the same name, is among Friday evening's closing acts on the 11 music stages at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Acts set for nearby stages include No Doubt, Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters and New Orleans Gospel Soul Children.
The celebration focuses largely on Louisiana music, food and culture — with healthy dashes of other varieties of music. It takes place each year at the Fair Grounds Race Course on the last weekend of April and the first weekend in May.
Amplified guitar, country fiddle, Cajun accordion, gospel harmonies. The sounds of the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival start wafting across the vast infield of the Fair Grounds race track along with the aromas of smoking meat, jambalaya, gumbo and fried chicken about an hour before noon on each day of the seven-day event.
They die down at the festival site as sundown nears, but that doesn't mean the party's over.
"It's Jazz Fest during the day and the late night concerts at night, which are even more special because everybody intermingles and gets such special moments together with the music," said Katie Gollotto, a Philadelphia resident visiting Jazz Fest for the second time.
"I saw Marcia Ball and Tom McDermott and Joe Crown last night at Snug Harbor," said Les Berenson, a New Orleans native now from Seattle, who has driven home for the festival for the last eight years. He planned a Thursday night trip to Rock'n'Bowl, the uniquely music and bowling haunt in uptown New Orleans after the festival.
"I have never missed a year of Jazz Fest," Johnathan Henderson proudly proclaimed as the second weekend was getting underway.
A lifelong New Orleans resident who works for an environmental organization, Henderson said he has been coming to Jazz Fest since he was a child.
"Since before, actually, I came out of the womb. I was in my mom's belly in the Jazz Tent listening to Professor Longhair."
Forecasters called for abundant sunshine and warm temperatures throughout the second and final weekend of the festival. It was a welcome contrast to the first weekend, when storms forced an early shutdown Friday and left the venue soggy on Saturday.
"It wasn't a terrible weekend, but this weekend should be a better weekend," said Jason Borja, manning a beer and soft-drink concession Thursday for his local Kiwanis Club.
"It didn't hurt the festivities. It did slow down sales," said Borja.
"Saturday was more of a flood fest. We had a lot of people bathing in the mud," Borja said. "It was like Woodstock."