I cannot tell you how much I love JazzFest! The crowds of people are all hot and sweaty and happy and full of good food and music! There is dancing near almost all the stages (there are 12 stages by the way), and you can just stand up and dance by yourself or with a friend (new or old!). There is food, and I do mean, there is food! And crafts for sale. And, did I forget the music? Let’s start from the very beginning!
We all try to ride together to pay for just one place to park; and it is usually in someone’s front/side yard near the fairgrounds. Yep, we pull into the grass, pay about $20 cash, and hope the guy that parked us really owns the property and is there when we return. Rosa gets an employee ticket from her friend at Smoothie King, Joey, and we can then get in the back entrance near the stables. Once we enter the gate, Mom takes off at a trot for her favorite place, Preservation Hall Economy Tent. The whole stage and seating area is under one ginormous canvas tent with chairs for sitting and a dance floor off to one side. She claims about 4 seats in the middle section on an aisle and sits there all day long! We use this as our base when we need shade or a chair or just want to hear the performers there. It is mostly Dixieland jazz, heavy with brass instruments. Here she can Second Line as much as she wants and knows some of the crowd that return every year for the same fun.
After she and Aunt Sis get their seats, the rest of us leave to find other music and fun! Alex and Barry were both first-timers and went out to get their bearings; Rosa & Pat to the Smoothie King stand, and me to the Sheraton Fais Do Do (pronounced: Fay doe doe – family dance) stage. They specialize in Zydeco & Cajun music here and I threw my blanket down and settled in to hear BeauSoleil and later, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr.. Barry & Alex joined me from time-to-time, we ate together and just relaxed and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day!
Definition of the Mardi Gras Indians:
“Coming out of slavery, being African American wasn’t socially acceptable. By masking like Native Americans, it created an identity of strength. Native Americans under all the pressure and duress, would not concede. These people were almost driven into extinction, and the same kind of feeling came out of slavery, “You’re not going to give us a place here in society, we’ll create our own.” In masking, they paid respect and homage to the Native American by using their identity and making a social statement that despite the odds, they’re not going to stop.”
Ronald Lewis, former Council Chief of the Choctaw Hunters, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe he helped to start.
Today, the Mardi Gras Indians parade everyday at JazzFest, throughout the grounds. They stop festival-goers in their tracks to enjoy the music, but much more, the fantastic beaded costumes each member makes by hand and wears!
At the end of the day, we all found our way back to the car (and surprise! The parking guy did own that house and was still there to help us get out!) and headed home to shower after a great day! JazzFest 2018…..can’t wait to meet you!