Saturday, May 03, 2008

Whither Jazz Fest

I went to Jazz Fest last Sunday on a free ticket. I volunteered in a T-Shirt booth as part of a fundraiser for Lusher School. So, I had to work from 9am to 2:30pm, after which I was supposed to have time to enjoy the fest. No sooner did I punch out and begin my stroll around the Fairgrounds, did the heavens open and the rain come pouring down. I got drenched. It was, really, miserable. But, that's not why I'm writing. I've just been thinking more and more about the cost of a ticket to Jazz Fest and have been getting more and more upset by it. I used to go to the Fest 3-5 times when tickets were in the $12-$15 range and food was in the $3-$5 range. Now, it's $50 to walk through the door and the food is up to $5-$8. Forget about the drinks. Better to just be well-hydrated before going into the doors.

My assessment of what the Jazz Fest has become: It sucks. Not the music, mind you. But the exclusivity caused by the ticket prices. It's now a yuppie, out-of-town thing. There are very few of the local working classes that go to the Fest anymore. It's pretty racially homogenous. And the spread of fold up chairs staking out personal spaces has basically ruined the community feel of standing in a jostling, good-spirited crowd. In short, again: It sucks. I may continue to go the Fest if I can get a free ticket in exchange for volunteering as a fundraiser for my children's schools; but it just doesn't have the same feel that it used to and I would much rather spend the $150+ that a Fest experience for my family would cost on a family dinner at Lola's instead.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I TOTALLY AGREE!!

I went Sunday on a free ticket as well, and, musically, it was incredible. The ticket prices are marginalizing locals - it was already an issue that the locals that attended were mostly of a certain class, and might I be so bold as to add, race. And on top of the outrageous prices, you'd think that after 39 YEARS, the fest organizers would be more prepared for...RAIN!!!! This is New ORleans for chrissake. Throw some freakin' hay down! How much can that cost? Don't make people who paid $50 for a ticket wade through puddles all day!!