Dear Jazz Fest,
I hadn't planned on writing to you, but then realized I was composing this in my head as I walked along the Fortin fence a few times over the last month. I guess I should address this to Quint, but I am not sure if that's still the way to get things across about logistics and rain and stuff like that.
So if it's for Quint, well, I say hello and you need to slow down in that golf cart. And thanks for leaving the mumus behind and getting back into regular clothes. Hard to explain those to out-of-towners.
I like how the set up goes out at the fairgrounds. When I lived in the French Quarter, I just arrived on Day 1 and it was like a miracle to see the set up (although back in the early 80s, things were a lot smaller weren't they?) When I moved to the Bayou St. John area 10 years ago, I would walk by the set up in the am and see more of what it took. Then I came to work for you (as unpaid staff) on the site and realized how many people it took to get it up. Good people too. Funny, hard working and loyal.
Now, I live facing it and saw lots of set up. I tell ya, it's less noise than horses on a track somehow. I mean I like the horses (wow waking up to hear galloping is very nice) but the announcements over the speakers and the lights are more noticeable.
So good marks on set up (and now break down). Very orderly.
thing #2: Advertising. Hmmm, not thrilled by it. Never have been though. I actually have an old poster (as the base of my armoire) from mid 80s, which has so many weird colors and fonts that it is hard to believe it worked as advertising. I say update it soon. especially the ad posters- that Ganesh alligator tshirt seemed to be the hit of the year- maybe think about different styles for advertising like that. My friend desperately wanted that poster of it hanging over the tshirt tent. And as far as merch, Uncle Lionel poster was brilliant.
thing #3: social networking: I did download the app; I give it passing grade but barely. Where were the cubes?! Why not add reviews of shows from people actually at the show? or of the last show at JF? and how about linking to shows around town? The map was nice but too big so I had to move the screen to see parts of it. But you get points for trying.
thing #4: Staff at gates: very professional as always. Both Mystery and Sauvage. Give them a raise for handling most of the tough situations well.
thing #5: Love the tent over Lagniappe. Best place to be often. saw great shows there- Susan Cowsill, Tom McDermott and Evan Christopher were both top notch. Good work there.
thing #6: Keep Jazz tent at end. This is personal as I live right behind it and loved it. Came outside to hear a few shows as it sounded better out there. But it also allows for intimate feel somehow. I spend more time there than anywhere else. partly because of the people mostly because of lineup. (meaning locals who I want to see).
thing #7: Why not move one of those big BIG shows to one evening concert? I get Pearl Jam draws but it means one less jazz, blues or other relative type of music for that stage and overshadows the last show everywhere. Tie it in to a special ticket that gets you into both and charge baby charge for tickets at night. use it to subsidize our JF. and calm down the crowds who sit and drink waiting for the one show clogging Acura the whole time. Guess you can tell I'm old, huh?
Thing #7.5: if you knew on Thursday Aretha was not coming, why wait til Saturday to announce it? That felt like a grab for ticket sales. Hope it wasn't. Leave her alone. she ain't coming and now she's annoyed New Orleanians. We don't invite people a third time you know?
Thing #8: You know you need more seating for food. Seriously.
Thing #9: Craft vendors were very good, the new stuff was nice. Hope we can include more diversity as we go, in products, in faces and in types of products. How many hat vendors were there? How about more prices? What about a one tent flea market? or a fashion show at the Grandstand? or Green Project et al selling cool hardware for doors etc?
Thing #10: When people leave, how about maps outside so folks know where to go from there? It's sort of like one of those restaurants that turn, you never end up where you started. Make some nice maps. you can put one across from me...
Thing #11: Food. the BEST thing out there. seems like some things were not as good, seemed like too many sweets, but the cochon de lait, the trout baquet, the crawfish bread from Natchitoches made it better. And you should promote those Grandstand food demos more-sandwich sign hawkers maybe?
Thing #12 (almost done): Parades: too crowded on walkway; why not do it starting at Grandstand, going to Jazz?
shoot- well not making this #13- but Shell Oil as the sponsor; hey that's they way it goes in fundraising and I know they came through in tough times, but any thoughts to asking other types of funders? like Hollywood movie studios etc? Or maybe foreign governments- sorry I guess that's the same thing as Shell. (not thrilled with these folks as you can imagine- shocking they did not put out any PR during spill or at least offer help while being so visible. Not your deal I know, but really cheeky to ignore it.)
OH most important-Please move poor Mr. Okra from the hot infield and give him a golf cart and some crates, his megaphone back and let him sell his fruit every hour on the hour while slowly circling the track. My god. give him his mojo back.
Okay, will stop there. I enjoyed my time, went every day. Not sure I can do that every year but I promise to keep coming some if you keep working to make it better.