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Seating for the other stages? Advice for a first timer?

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  • Seating for the other stages? Advice for a first timer?

    Hi,

    I'm really into jazz (and funk,blues, etc.). I am planning to go to the Fest for the first time this year. Given my interests, I doubt I'll be at the Acura stage much, if at all. Is there usually a huge demand for seating at the WWOZ or Jazz & Heritage Stages or is it really usually only "crazy"' at the Acura stage?

    Any other advice for a first time?

    Also, any thoughts on the best day for someone like me to attend? Kinda struggling a bit right now. Some of the bigger name jazz guys (Herbie, Kamasi, etc.) I've already seen perform a few times. Really looking for the most New Orleans unique experience I can get.

  • #2
    The tents (Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Economy Hall) contain rows of folding chairs. Most of the time, seats are readily available. A few of the bigger names do pack the tents, though, so if you want to see them (Herbie, for example), best to get there early, perhaps at the time the prior act ends.

    Jazz & Heritage is an outdoor stage, so it's all standing or bring-your-own-folding-chair. There's always space there, and it may be the most New Orleans stage there is.

    Don't lock yourself into any one stage. Spend some time wandering and following your ears.

    You should go the first day of fest that you're in town for, because weekdays are usually less crowded, and because after that first day, you'll want to come back again the next day, and the day after that too.
    Visit my Jazzfest advice site: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/

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    • #3
      I'm sure others will chip in on this, but I will say that, especially if you are running solo, you will rarely have a problem finding a seat in either the Jazz or Blues tents. On occasions, usually no more than once or twice in a weekend, there will be serious pressure for seats in those tents, and you may have to plan things carefully if you need to see a specific act.
      By arriving toward the end of a set, you will find many folks leaving for other stages, and you should be able to then grab yourself a seat for the act you really want to catch.

      By the way, in recent years there has been a standing area at the rear of the Blues tent, which has eased the pressure there considerably.

      The Jazz and Heritage is a small outdoor stage, which is rarely "crazy" as you put it. There is invariably room to find a spot there.

      The Congo Sq. and Gentilly stages, as much as Accura, can get very crowded, especially on Saturday/Sunday for acts later in the day.

      As far as other advice, the most tried and tested for me is, when you have a gap in the schedule, without any obvious favourite, head for the Gospel Tent, which is an only in New Orleans experience, and is waay funkier than you would ever have thought possible.

      The Mardi-Gras Indian and Brass Bands who tend to play the aforementioned Jazz and Heritage stage, are also, not the sort of music that you are going to hear elsewhere.

      Read this board daily, and you will find folks chipping in with their favourite artists, and other tips to ensure you enjoy yourself as safely and comfortably as possible.

      Oh, and welcome to the board!

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      • #4
        All of this is great advice. I might also add that for a change of pace you might go to the Lagniappe Stage in the Grandstand. The music there is great and generally local as well. It's a slower pace and easier seats than other places at JF. Also, if you have an interest in a performer who is at the Interview Stage I would definitely suggest it. It is indoors, intimate, AND air-conditioned with real seats. It's another great change of pace place, and some of the best musical performances I've seen at fest happened there.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Staxsun View Post
          All of this is great advice. I might also add that for a change of pace you might go to the Lagniappe Stage in the Grandstand. The music there is great and generally local as well. It's a slower pace and easier seats than other places at JF. Also, if you have an interest in a performer who is at the Interview Stage I would definitely suggest it. It is indoors, intimate, AND air-conditioned with real seats. It's another great change of pace place, and some of the best musical performances I've seen at fest happened there.
          I agree. Last year I spent more time at Lagniappe/Interview than ever before which was SO NICE. I love the lagniappe stage so much and the interview stage is really at times the very best kept secret of jazz fest. Sitting in the air conditioned comfort listening to a legendary performer play something as close to as impromptu as you're going to get at JF is a completely awesome time. Also there are real bathrooms inside the Grandstand.

          CanineHorror is one of my running partners during JF and his advice rings true. I'm a solo traveler and rarely have trouble finding a seat inside the tents (save the exceptions mentioned) and I've had some really memorable times sitting with random folks. But also, the tents become havens for people who don't care about the music in those tents and as such talk to act obnoxiously. So fill those seats with folks who wish to listen to the music please.

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          • #6
            I guess I'll add one other exception.

            The weather.

            When the wet stuff starts falling, the tents fill up immediately.
            Visit my Jazzfest advice site: http://jazzfest.swagland.com/

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone for your advice. And also being so nice about it. A lot of groups aren't so nice to new people; great to see this isn't one of them.

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              • #8

                Originally posted by fichadelphia View Post
                But also, the tents become havens for people who don't care about the music in those tents and as such talk to act obnoxiously. So fill those seats with folks who wish to listen to the music please.

                I'm sure you already know this but, if it's any consolation, this seems to be consistent at all/a lot of music festivals. I've gone to the Newport Jazz Festival (family lives in Newport, RI) every year. This year will be my 16th in a row. It's the same deal there too; you're trying to listen to some amazing artist and there's a bunch of uninterested people there just blabbing away. It's even worse when it's rainy and they're only there because it's one of the covered areas. And if the musician happens to be someone very unconventional (e.g. an avant garde musician) the talking is unbearable at times.

                It is what it is though I suppose.

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                • #9
                  Also a first time attendee. Wide range of music interests. Going with another couple, so 4 people total. Looking at Big Chief tickets now.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TEXANJAZZLOVER View Post
                    It is what it is though I suppose.
                    I shushed a woman during Christian Scott's Jazz tent set last year and she was offended! Another pet peeve is when the talkers wait until the music gets softer to speak- hey dummies, the song wasn't written with your need to talk in mind.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TEXANJAZZLOVER View Post
                      Thanks everyone for your advice. And also being so nice about it. A lot of groups aren't so nice to new people; great to see this isn't one of them.
                      Well that's a really nice compliment that I think we worked hard to earn There are a few dreary trolls in the main forum but they are all bark no bite.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fichadelphia View Post

                        I shushed a woman during Christian Scott's Jazz tent set last year and she was offended! Another pet peeve is when the talkers wait until the music gets softer to speak- hey dummies, the song wasn't written with your need to talk in mind.
                        Ugh. I have the difficulty of my mother, whom I love dearly, being one of those talkers. Fortunately, she won't be going to New Orleans with me but I know the pain all too well.

                        Was it otherwise a good set at least? I love Christian Scott. Have seen him a few times at Newport - 2008 when he was still sort of starting out (relatively speaking), a few years ago with his Stretch Music album, and then last year with R+R = Now (him with Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin, and Joe Tyson). He's been really incredible each time I've seen him.
                        Last edited by TEXANJAZZLOVER; 01-16-2019, 10:04 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TEXANJAZZLOVER View Post
                          Was it otherwise a good set at least? I love Christian Scott. Have seen him a few times at Newport - 2008 when he was still sort of starting out (relatively speaking), a few years ago with his Stretch Music album, and then last year with R+R = Now (him with Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin, and Joe Tyson). He's been really incredible each time I've seen him.
                          Oh yes indeed- a great set. He had some great players out with him, not completely his usual band - I don't recall who played with him by name. I'm surprised but not upset that he isn't appearing at Fest this year- he's had a spot the past few years and in 2018 had a relationship with Midnight Preserves where he was artist in residence or something to that effect. He's a native with deep roots so we will see him again in no time.

                          In my fantasy festival there's a quiet zone in each of the tents- kind of like the quiet car on amtrak- where while music is playing there's no talking above a brief whisper. That would be my dream.

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                          • #14
                            Hi, jazzfest virgins! To add on, at Fais do do you will get the cajun and zydeco experience for the most part. At Econmy Hall, traditional jazz rules. Economy has seats and a dance area off to the side. Secondline dancing during the music is a thing at that tent. One of my favorite things to do when I don't want to see anyone in particular is set up my chair at Jazz and heritage and leave it there while I do a walkabout. When you're looking at the stage, go to the left behind the row of food booths. After a short walk you will be at Economy. Next go farther left to visit the kids tent. Or go across the track behind economy to the grandstand. There you will find the Lagniappe stage in the paddock area. With chairs. There are real bathrooms with long lines, exhibits and upstairs, the interview stage. when you come out of the grandstand go left and walk by the wwoz brass pass tent. Unless you have a brass pass. If you do, go in to use the clean porta potties and have some water or iced coffee and fruit. Free with the pass. Keep walking and next will be the gospel tent. AFter you get your gospel, cross over to the blues tent and view so art on your way. You can keep going to the jazz tent. Or you can come out of blues, go through the arch and cross the track back to jazz and heritage. So much music. So little time!

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                            • #15
                              Also swag has a great website for newbies at www.jazzfest.swagland.com

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