NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival's detailed lineup was released Tuesday, a month before the gates open, organizers said they are energized and expecting to build on last year's growth in attendance.
"Last year's festival was really special," festival producer Quint Davis said at a news conference. "It was the first to show attendance going up a notch. We came out of last year with tremendous momentum and after 44 years to be relevant and growing is a tremendous accomplishment."
He added, "This year's festival has reinvigorated and reignited people and the anticipation has taken off again and that's exciting that people are still energized about going to the festival."
That's thanks in part to a lineup over seven days with more than 80 acts on 12 stages including Billy Joel, Jill Scott, Fleetwood Mac, B.B. King, Frank Ocean, Maroon 5, Gary Clark Jr., Earth, Wind and Fire, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Aaron Neville.
"There is no other festival that really is as broad as this, that's as deep as this, as indigenous as this, and as close to the community as this is," Davis said.
The festival, April 26-28 and May 2-5, released the coveted schedule "cubes," which show what acts are playing when and where.
"Today is the day that the festival really is defined ... by the unequaled talent of New Orleans because today, with the cubes, you see the shows on each stage," Davis said. "And for every so-called national guest there's a New Orleans equal and New Orleans match. No other city and no other festival can match that."
Davis urged fans to dig deep into the schedule to find the "nuggets and gems" and get beyond the festival's surface.