Jazz Fest aims to help visitors appreciate N.O. culture, say organizers

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by Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on April 27, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 28 at 8:16 PM

 NEW ORLEANS - In New Orleans, music isn't just entertainment. It's sustenance. At least that's what Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis would have you believe.

 “They say the heart of rock n roll is the beat, well New Orleans is the heartbeat,” said Davis.
 
There are 12 stages and over 80 food booths, but organizers say Jazz fest is about much more. They want people to develop an appreciation for New Orleans culture.
 
“Our core mission is to celebrate the culture of New Orleans, and with that mission is to get the word out, and get the word out worldwide,” said Davis.
 
Seymour Miles has helped do just that. The New Yorker has come to Jazz Fest for the last 15 years. His group has grown to nearly 30 people.
 
“It's really magical,” said Miles. “I've been really fortunate in living many places in this world and it's just, New Orleans is a unique, special, gifted place of dance and music and food and joy and it all gets done together in a gumbo that you just can't stop eating and why the heck would you want to?”
 
From a craftsmen's tent to crawfish bread, the festival has grown exponentially since it began 44 years ago, drawing people from around the world.
 
“This is the epitome of Louisiana culture,” said Reggie Brown, of Seattle. “It's a great way to get away, eat food, listen to music, and see the most interesting culture in the United States.”
 
“It's not fantasy its' reality. The food, the people, the culture, it's just reality,” said Cindy “Turbo” West, of New Orleans. “[Visitors] get to come down here enjoy our culture and hopefully take it back.”
 
Jazz Fest's mission doesn't end when the event is over. Proceeds go to the non profit Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which aims to reinvigorate New Orleans' music culture through education and grants.
 
For the first time this year, Jazz Fest organizers are broadcasting the second weekend of Jazz Fest’s live music on AXS TV, which is available to 40 million viewers nationwide.

 

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