Jazz Fest closes with heat on stages and above them

Published: May. 8, 2022 at 9:35 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival closed out Sunday (May 8) with heat in the air and on its stages.

Jazz Fest treated thousands of music, food and culture lovers to its unique New Orleans flavors over the past two weekends. And the Mother’s Day finale, played out under bright sunshine and 90-degree heat, brought a scorching end to the festival’s triumphant return.

Fox 8 meteorologist Zack Fradella warned Sunday’s attendees to prepare for the oppressive heat, which included staying hydrated and protected from the sun’s rays with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and umbrellas.

Visitors to the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival take a break from the heat by finding...
Visitors to the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival take a break from the heat by finding shade in Congo Square's monument park, under the arched-eyebrow gaze of the late Dr. John.(Steve Wolfram/WVUE Fox 8)

The coronavirus pandemic forced Jazz Fest to go dark in 2020 and 2021. But visitors from around the world flocked back to the Fair Grounds for the festival’s 2022 comeback, enjoying such headlining acts as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie, The Black Crowes, Erykah Badu and The Who.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea’s Chili Peppers were a well-received emergency replacement for the Foo Fighters as the first Sunday’s main stage headliner. Dave Grohl’s band canceled all scheduled 2022 dates about a month before Jazz Fest, after the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins on March 25 while on tour with the band in Bogota, Colombia.

Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith paid tribute to his friend with a custom “Taylor” head on his bass drum and a ferocious performance last weekend that Grohl and other Foos watched from backstage.

The coronavirus still impacted the performance lineup. COVID-19 infections among band members or crew forced Willie Nelson and Melissa Etheridge to drop out of their respective headlining slots. The Zac Brown Band and Mavis Staples filled in for them on short notice.

Legendary New Orleans bass player George Porter Jr. of The Meters also announced he had contracted the virus, forcing him to drop out of scheduled shows both at Jazz Fest and several nightclub venues during one of the most lucrative weeks of the year for local musicians.

Among those scheduled to perform on the festival’s final day are Buffett, Irma Thomas, The Radiators, Nicholas Payton, Kool & The Gang, Norah Jones, Buddy Guy, the Zac Brown Band and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

And, as he has every year that Jazz Fest has been staged since 2013, local hero Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews had the honor of closing out the show on the main Festival Stage with his band Orleans Avenue.

Festival producer Quint Davis is expected to release final attendance numbers for the Fest later this week, before getting to work booking the acts and filling the schedule cubes for next spring’s big show.

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