NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thunderstorms forced the cancellation of Saturday's late acts at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, including scheduled appearances by Stevie Wonder, rapper Snoop Dogg, Beck and others.
Overcast skies turned to rain around 3 p.m. but that didn't stop the music as fans reveled in such acts as New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers and Hurray for the Riff Raff. But all that changed an hour later as heavier rain barred performances by Wonder and others.
"We're very bummed," said Laura Monsted, of New Orleans. "We were waiting for Stevie. Still, we're thankful for the acts we were able to see."
Monsted and her friends said they saw crews closing down the Fais Do Do stage and expressed disappointment.
"You know, $75 is a lot for a rainy day and, to only get a few acts, that's a hard pill to swallow," she said.
Claire Mangano and her friend, Emilee Margiotta, appeared glum that the big acts were cancelled.
"But we understand," Mangano said. "It's for safety reasons, for the fans and the artists. We live here and know playing in this kind of weather can get dangerous really fast."
Mud puddles formed throughout the infield of the Fair Grounds Race Course, where the festival is held annually. Fans, ready for the worst, donned rain coats, ponchos and rubber boots. Many held up umbrellas, while others braved the elements without any cover and sometimes without shoes, dancing even as rain pelted them.
Jarrod Broussard and his wife, Tammy, come to the festival every year — rain or shine.
Tammy Broussard, who is fighting cancer, said they decided to attend because "I'm going through chemo and today is a good day."
Broussard, who's also celebrating his birthday, said they were prepared for the forecast, bringing along rain gear and a change of clothes.
Artist Dwayne D. Conrad and art dealer Bernadette Gilds Pinel have a booth at the festival and had hoped to hear Wonder's performance.
"We were robbed," Gilds Pinel said, laughing after learning that his show wouldn't go on. "God willing, he will pop up somewhere in the city tonight to make up for this."
Todd Thompson and his wife, Rabiya, of Leavenworth, Kansas, said this was their first Jazz Fest experience. Despite the bad weather, they were having a good time.
"We were lucky enough to get inside one of the tents and heard Kermit Ruffins' set. It's been great for what we were able to see," he said.
The festival ends on Sunday, with a 60 percent or higher chance of more rain in the forecast. Scheduled performances are to include Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Chris Botti, Arlo Guthrie, Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt.