New Orleans Jazz Fest Producer Talks Phish Booking

If you're like us, you were surprised to see Phish listed as a headliner on the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup. Keith Spera of New Orleans paper of record The Times-Picayune spoke with Jazz Fest producer/director Quint Davis about the booking process, including word of how he scored Phish.

Davis visited Phish during the band's recent New Year's Run at Madison Square Garden, where he "huddled with the band's manager and booking agent backstage, hashing out how to get Phish back to the festival." The article states that "the four members of the band had planned to spend several months in 2014 working on individual endeavors, not touring as Phish." Both bassist Mike Gordon and guitarist Trey Anastasio have many dates with their solo bands on the books for the beginning of 2014.

"It was a big thing for Phish to decide to do this," Davis told The Times-Picayune. "A lot of people had to do a lot of work to put this together. They had to talk to everybody to see if they wanted to do it, and could do it. It's not simple to put something like this together. They're a big, big band that has a lot of moving pieces and parts."

Another reason Phish's inclusion was such a surprise is because there were some issues at the band's 1996 appearance at Jazz Fest. Keyboardist Page McConnell spoke to OffBeat Magazine about the 1996 situation in a May 2013 interview. “I know there was a problem with fans defecating and fornicating on the lawn. But then, who knows what band those people came to see? But I can see that we bring a particular flavor of fan and we bring enough of them that it can start to feel like something other than Jazz Fest, it can feel like a Phish concert. So we’d love to do it again, but I doubt we’re going to get invited,” McConnell told OffBeat. Thankfully the invitation was extended as this April Phish will play the Crescent City for the first time since September 26, 1999.

[via The Times-Picayune / Hat Tip - @BlissPhish]

[Published on: 1/15/14]

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