Today, hundreds of thousands of people swarm to the New Orleans Fairgrounds to experience the cornucopia of culture that is the world-famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Who could imagine that at the very first Jazz Fest, the musicians and volunteers outnumbered the members of the audience by about six to one?
Michael P. Smith, Allison Miner, and Quint Davis could not only imagine it—they lived it. Eventually, people began to sneak in, but that was just fine with Jazz Fest organizers—at least people were there.
While Jazz Fest has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings, the stories and pictures of its early days remain as fascinating as seeing the Neville Brothers perform each year. Collected here are firsthand accounts of the history and evolution of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival from its inception. Miner’s unique personal memories and Smith’s soulful photographs provide a glimpse both onstage and backstage at what has become one of the best musical celebrations in the world.
About the Authors
Michael P. Smith was a veteran Jazz Fest photographer. His four previous books on the music and culture of New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz Fest: A Pictorial History, A Joyful Noise: A Celebration of New Orleans Music, Spirit World: Pattern in the Expressive Folk Culture of New Orleans,
and Mardi Gras Indians,
are both published by Pelican.
Allison Miner, one of the founders of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, helped to shape the careers of numerous musicians, including New Orleans’ own Professor Longhair.