The countdown is on to the start of Jazz Fest 2016. FOX 8 checked in at the Fair Grounds to see what's new this year. Earth movers, cherry pickers and ATV's help build the magical city that comes to life at the Fair Grounds. Quint Davis said, ‘Hey it's Jazz Fest.” The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Producer is excited that it continues growing and getting better. He said, “There's really something for everyone at the highest level.”
He's especially excited about the growing cultural exchange area. “Almost any Caribbean nation relates to New Orleans," Davis said. "They have carnival, they have rhythm, they have parades. So this year it's Belize that's featured.”
Also this year are special tributes honor Allen Toussaint and B.B. King. “We're facing some major losses this year to our family," Davis said. "B.B. is in a portrait now on the outside of the Blues tent and there will be a jazz funeral here for Allen on Saturday the 23rd.
If you're bringing binoculars, the back row might be the best seat in the house. “We talked last year about not just tweaking the festival, but really making sure everybody that comes here has a great experience, in this case a new experience, is comfortable and really importantly to maintain the flow around the track,” Davis said. Bleachers at the Acura Stage and Congo Square will give thousands a better view from the back and hopefully keep the track clear for foot traffic.
“So if you want to see some of Stevie (Wonder) and some of Snoop (Dogg) or some of Pearl Jam and some of Van Morrison thousands of people are going around the outside to get down there. Last year it got blocked off in a couple of places when that happens it's like I-10 closing,” according to Davis. It won't be long until we find out if this new experiment becomes another Jazz Fest favorite. Unlike the V.I.P. bleachers that require a separate fee, these new bleachers are open to the general public. Jazz Fest begins Friday April 22, 2016.