Just days after Big Plume began gushing in the Gulf, I knew we couldn't wait for the insurance checks like we did after Katrina. Driven by horrific visions of our wildlife and wetlands encased in oily muck, I got producer Steve Rehage and Mardi Gras World's Barry Kern & Joe Jaeger to sign on for a benefit concert, followed by SDT's Sidney Torres IV, musician Lenny Kravitz, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board, Anheuser-Busch and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. By May 11, we had musicians lined up, including Allen Toussaint, Mos Def, Voice of the Wetlands, Zachary Richard and more.
Our broadcast krewe and web team, bone-tired from Jazz Fest, scrambled to provide promotion and live coverage of the event. We created the Gulf Relief Foundation and called the event "Gulf Aid." Everything was donated or near-donated--musicians, venue, producers, 'OZ's broadcast, attorneys, vendors, suppliers. We pulled it off, with 100% of the proceeds going to protect our people, wildlife, and wetlands.
Despite the torrential rain, short timeline, unusual venue and eyebrow-raising ticket price, thousands attended. Along with the musicians and chefs, we called--and still call--on friends across the country to help us (again) as we insist on maintaining our way of life, come hell or high water!
And this is just the first salvo, with more benefits involving food and music on the way.
Yours in stormy clouds and swarming crowds,
This year's Jazz Fest was amazing no matter where you were at the Fairgrounds, as Big Sam (pictured) points out, and the one-of-a-kind nighttime shows were just as unforgettable. (Brass Passers: Share your JF2010 experiences with us on Facebook!) Piano Night at House of Blues in between Fest weekends was a blast, too, with three stages of stellar performers, sponsored by Peoples Health. WWOZ thanks everyone who helped out during the Fest and Piano Night, especially our show hosts, engineers, volunteers and staff.
Jazz Fest may be over, but festival season isn't, and WWOZ's live broadcast team is on the scene! Founded after Hurricane Katrina to restore the social fabric of Mid-City, Bayou Boogaloo (May 21-23) is a free music festival held on the banks of Bayou Saint John. Headliners include Bill Summers & Jazalsa, Benny Turner & Real Blues (a tribute to Marva Wright), and BeauSoleil with Tab Benoit, and there'll be plenty of art and food. The DC Jazz Festival (June 1-13) in America's capital features over 100 performances by the likes of like Dianne Reeves, Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, Roy Hargrove, and James Moody at dozens of venues across the city. We'll bring you the sounds of both festivals live on air and online. Stay tuned for details.
On May 16, WWOZ and its partners held a benefit concert in New Orleans to help save Louisiana's wetlands and fishing industry from the devastating effects of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf Aid was a smashing success, thanks to musicians like John Legend, Mos Def, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and many more, but the fight isn't over. Fishermen and their families still need your support, and there are plenty of ways to help clean up the massive oil spill.
While New Orleans was enjoying the final weekend of Jazz Fest, water was piling up in another great American musical city: Nashville, Tennessee. Musicians like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban are still assessing their losses, and the Grand Ole Opry (pictured)—a cornerstone of country music—is completely waterlogged. Pictures of the flooding that occurred during the first week of May brings back painful memories of the drowning of New Orleans in 2005, but WWOZ encourages listeners to help our sister city in its time of need.
The annual triple-threat is back, with seafood, Creole tomatoes and of course, music. Grammy winner Buckwheat Zydeco will headline the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (June 11-13) at the Old U.S. Mint. This free festival is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the French Market's Creole Tomato Festival. WWOZ will broadcast live from this signature Louisiana music festival—stay tuned for details.
WWOZ is excited to announce our new Flash-based audio stream, which pops up when you click on the LISTEN NOW button at WWOZ.org. The new player works right inside your browser, so you don't have to open any other applications on your computer to listen to our fabulous web stream. The old-school radio interface lets you adjust volume, control playback and see who's on the air and who's up next. As usual, we've got our members to thank for helping us make it even easier to listen to 'OZ online.
This month's recipe is from chef/restaurateur Donald Link, owner of Herbsaint and Cochon, two of New Orleans' favorite eateries. His skillet jambalaya calls for andouille, chicken and Louisiana shrimp, though you can always make substitutions if one of these becomes difficult to find. If you like the recipe, then check out Louisiana Cookin' magazine. Subscribe with the promotion code wwoz2010, and they'll donate $5 to WWOZ.
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Live music is the life-blood of New Orleans. Check out our online music calendar to find out who's playing where!
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