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Jazz Fest Set For April 22-May 1; Evening Concert Series Suspended

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
The 36th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is set for New Orleans April 22-May 1 with the newly formed co-producers Festival Productions Inc–New Orleans and AEG-Live. The lineup is characterized as the deepest and most dynamic in the history of the festival, with The Original Meters Reunion, Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Nelly, Artist TBA, B.B. King, Juanes, The Neville Brothers, Trey Anastasio, Isaac Hayes, Widespread Panic, Jack Johnson, Anthony Hamilton, Elvis Costello, The Roots, Steve Winwood, Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr., Steel Pulse, Wilco, Dave Bartholomew, Toots & the Maytals, Randy Newman, Smokie Norful, Better Than Ezra, Buddy Guy, Luciano, Irma Thomas, Jamie Cullum, Shirley Horn, Evangelist Shirley Caesar, Pete Fountain, Victor Manuelle, Galactic, Zap Mama, Ike Turner, Kermit Ruffins, Ozomatli, Ellis Marsalis, Madeleine Peyroux, Los Lonely Boys, Cowboy Mouth, Tribute to Little Walter featuring Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Jerry Portnoy, Rebirth Brass Band, Doc Cheatham Memorial Jazz Band featuring Nicholas Payton, Banu Gibson & New Orleans Hot Jazz, Dorothy Norwood, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Radiators, Nickel Creek, Tribute to John Coltrane featuring McCoy Tyner, Ravi Coltrane, James Carter & Charnett Moffett, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Fishbone, Ba Cissoko of Guinea, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Allen Toussaint, Susan Tedeschi, Los Hombres Calientes, Jazz Messengers Legacy / Benny Golson feat Curtis Fuller, Buckwheat Zydeco, G. Love & Special Sauce, Marcia Ball, World Leader Pretend, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Sister Rosetta Tharpe Tribute featuring Maria Muldaur, Tracy Nelson & Angela Strehli, Roy Haynes 80th Birthday Celebration, Tab Benoit, Heath Brothers featuring Jimmy Heath, Albert “Tootie” Heath and Percy Heath, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Howlin’ Wolf Tribute featuring Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin and Henry Gray, Old Crow Medicine Show, Louis Hayes & Tribute to Cannonball Adderly, Ledisi, Trumpet Woodshed featuring Maurice Brown and Marlon Jordan, Slide Summit featuring Roy Rogers with Lil’ Ed, John Mooney, Bob Margolin & Drink Small, Donald Harrison, and thousands more artists set to appear.

“Think of New Orleans and New Orleans music as the center of the music universe," said Quint Davis, producer/director of jazz Fest. "Any music you can trace to or from that hub is music we’ve worked with renewed vigor to infuse into the party. Gospel, jazz, blues, funk, rock, cajun, zydeco, Latin, R&B, jam, mardi gras, hip-hop, African, and a whole lotta music you can’t put into any one category will be presented in the powerful way that only Jazz Fest can serve up such a celebration.”

According to Davis, a new Festival stage will be devoted to perhaps the most important facet of traditional and contemporary New Orleans culture—brass band music, secondline dance clubs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other features of the city’s core culture. “The Festival has always had daily secondline parades that move throughout the Festival grounds and those will continue," added Davis. "But the new stage will provide a base for all New Orleans parade-related energy and provide a destination where Festival-goers can revel in our living, thriving and ever evolving secondline and Mardi Gras Indian culture which doesn’t exist any place else in the world.”

The Festival’s legendary Louisiana Heritage Fair, held at the Fair Grounds Race Course, will run April 22-24 and April 28-May 1. The Heritage Fair, running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., features 12 performance stages, more than 100 different varieties of irresistible Louisiana and international foods, and three important crafts fairs. Daily tickets for the Heritage Fair are still only $20 through February 22. On February 23 advance daily tickets will be $25. These advance tickets are subject to service charges at the various outlets. Tickets at the gate will be $35. Daily tickets for children under age 12 are $5 in advance and at the gate.

Jazz Fest is also introducing The Big Chief VIP Experience, a premium ticket package that includes the following: Festival admission with re-entry privileges; access to special viewing areas at major Festival stages and in some tents; the limited edition Official Festival Poster; access to an air conditioned hospitality lounge; special access to restrooms and beverage concessions; parking, if desired; and more. Big Chief tickets are extremely limited in number and will be sold by weekend only. First weekend Big Chief VIP tickets are $550 and $700 with parking. Second weekend tickets are $650 and $850 with parking. Service charges are not included in the prices quoted here.

David Oestreicher, president of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit organization that presents Jazz Fest, said, “Just as our Festival is entering a new era with innovative programming and ideas, the Foundation is stepping into the future with its commitment to the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana stronger than it has ever been. Our new vision is reflected in the boldness of this year’s Festival, and our determination to raise more funds to assist in the preservation of our great culture can be seen in the other events we have planned for the coming season.”

The Foundation’s annual Gala fundraiser will present Natalie Cole in concert on April 21 at the Fairmont Hotel along with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers with guests Big Sam and Troy Andrews. The Festival will also present a series of educational programs, formerly the workshop series, at various venues in the New Orleans area. Special programs for local school children will be held at the Heritage Fair on April 28. The Festival’s evening concerts series has been suspended for 2005.

Official sponsors of the 2005 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are Acura, Miller Lite, Popeyes, Fair Grounds Race Course, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, BellSouth, Yamaha Drums, and Zatarain’s. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen