Last weekend, it began.
Hordes of people descended.
They got wet.
They got muddy.
They paid handsomely for the privilege.
And they liked it?
The crowds will do it again this weekend.
Of course, I’m talking about Jazz Fest.
I feel like I must be the only person in New Orleans who recoils at the very idea of Jazz Fest.
Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I love beer. I love food.
I’ve been to giant music festivals and had a fantastic time, so I’m not anti-festival.
In 1997, I attended a huge music festival in England called V97. I drank overpriced beer and ate overpriced food, and even got stuck in a downpour. It was an adventure! We were all in it together!
But there’s nothing about Jazz Fest that appeals to me. Not the music – the bands I like have either broken up or are more likely to play at small venues. I don’t like jazz. I don’t dance. It’s not just Jazz Fest, either. People who come to visit ask where to listen to live music, and I give them a blank stare, shrug my shoulders and suggest, “Frenchman Street?”
I don’t want to shell out my hard-earned money for expensive tickets and parking to get there. And even if I did make it that far, I’m way too cheap to enjoy beer that costs more than $6 a pint.
I’ll happily pay that at my neighborhood pub, while sitting outside on a spring evening with friends, but in a hot crowd of strangers, being subjected to what I consider an aural assault? No thank you.
I’m the same with food – put me in a restaurant, and I’ll order whatever looks good, but put me in front of a row of food stalls, and I hem and haw and ultimately decide to keep my money in my pocket.
Before you say, “but Pam, you have to at least try it,” let me tell you that I have. About ten years ago, I went with some friends. I had free tickets. We were even seated in a beer tent, so not only did I have free booze, but I also wasn’t in the full sun with the sweaty masses. I still hated it.
I honestly just do not see the appeal, but I am kind of envious of people who do. It seems like it must be fun. Maybe one day I’ll go again. I’ll imagine that I’m sitting on the grass on a hill in the English countryside. I’ll put on my headphones and play the perfectly curated Pandora station of Britpop that I’ve created and pretend that I’m 22 again, drinking warm beer out of a paper cup and loving it.