‘Festival Circuit: New Orleans’ Profiles Jazz Fest With ‘At The Fairgrounds’ Episode

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The 50-year history of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is profiled in the latest episode of the Osiris podcast Festival Circuit: New Orleans. “At The Fairgrounds” features interviews with notable musicians such as George Porter Jr., Irma Thomas and Johnny Vidacovich as well as attendees, journalists, organizers and more.

Narrated and produced by Rob Steinberg, “At The Fairgrounds” starts with remembrances of Bruce Springsteen's legendary 2006 Jazz Fest set which came at the first festival after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Photographer/musician Danny Clinch shares his memories of that day including behind-the-scenes stories.

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Festival Circuit: New Orleans then digs into the genesis of Jazz Fest including George Porter Jr.’s tale of performing at the inaugural event in 1970 with Ellis Marsalis. Steinberg explains how founder George Wein made a pair of key hires before Jazz Fest’s debut that continue to pay dividends 50 years later. The host also speaks with Preservation Hall Jazz Band‘s Ben Jaffe about the racial segregation organizers had to overcome in the event’s early days.

The episode continues with a dive into Professor Longhair’s long association with Jazz Fest and how the event has changed over the past 50 years. One of Jazz Fest’s signature stages, The Gospel Tent, was established in 1973. Irma Thomas speaks about the relationship between New Orleans and religion and her introduction to gospel. Festival Circuit also explores the exponential growth of the event, including how Acura’s sponsorship and AEG’s participation has led to huge bookings.

Other topics hit upon are how the culture of NOLA is embedded into Jazz Fest, the many local bands that play the event and of course … the food. Listen to the “At The Fairgrounds” episode of Festival Circuit: New Orleans below:

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JamBase is the media partner of Osiris Media.

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    Osiris Media launched a new podcast, ‘Festival Circuit,’ focusing on the musical history and impact of festivals and cities around the world.

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