Rolling Stones’ Historic Debut Brings New Orleans Jazz Festival to Standstill

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Descending on the musically vibrant city of New Orleans, the Jazz & Heritage Festival usually presents itself as an audacious spectacle akin to a 14-ring melodic circus. A rich tableau of diverse musical acts play to throbbing crowds from stages scattered throughout the expansive infield of a historic racecourse.

However, this ebullient atmosphere is set to experience a profound shift in ambiance come Thursday afternoon. An unusual silence will preside over the festival grounds as 13 stages abruptly cease their musical reverberations for an act that needs no introduction – The Rolling Stones.

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The musical doyens are poised to make their debut performance at the prestigious festival, now in its 54th year. In anticipation of the main event, the usually bustling festival will be brought to a standstill, allowing the gravity of the occasion to truly sink in.

Festival producer, Quint Davis, has justified this unusual arrangement, stating, “We didn’t want to have 13 vacant stages and desolate audiences when the Stones kick-off tunes like ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’. Everyone with a ticket for that day primarily intends to witness the magic of The Stones.”

Adding to the remarkable narrative of the day, this will be the iconic band’s second stop on their Hackney Diamonds tour, which has been orchestrated in celebration of their highly acclaimed album released last year. This comeback marked their first release of original content in a staggering 18 years.

Previous attempts to attract the legendary band to the Jazz festival have been marred by unfortunate events. A previous booking for their performance was scrapped in 2019 due to health issues faced by frontman Mick Jagger. The band’s subsequent appearance in 2021 was cancelled along with the festival itself due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendees can hardly contain their excitement, especially faithful followers of New Orlean’s rhythm and blues scene. Anticipation is rife about the possibility of the band performing “Time Is On My Side,” an early hit originally performed by New Orleans’ soul queen, Irma Thomas. Intriguingly, Thomas herself has hinted at a possible collaboration on the much-loved classic.

Along with the palpable excitement, some concern is also looming in the horizon. Forecasts indicate temperatures rocketing to mid-80s degrees with a slightly intimidating 40% chance of rain.

Before The Rolling Stones take charge of the largest stage, the city’s beloved funk-fusion band Dumpstaphunk will set the tone. Sadly, the band will be performing with heavy hearts, mourning the recent loss of their co-founder and bassist, Nick Daniels III. The cause of his untimely demise is yet to be revealed. Thus, amidst the jubilation and excitement, the festival is set to witness a bittersweet amalgamation of joy and remembrance.