The annual New Orleans Jazz & Music Heritage Festival today announced its 2011 line-up with a diverse slate of headliners that includes Arcade Fire, Sonny Rollins, Kid Rock, Wilco, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi, Ms. Lauryn Hill, John Mellencamp, the Strokes, Jimmy Buffett, John Legend & the Roots and Robert Plant
The panoply of headliners mirrors the eclectic range of music offerings further down the bill. Among the hundreds of disparate artists playing this year are the Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint and the Rebirth Brass Band, contemporary indie rockers the Decemberists, 'American Idol' season three winner Fantasia, jazz legend Ron Carter, New-Orleans-bred rapper Mystikal, alt-country singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams and soul blues legend Bobby "Blue" Bland.
"The 2011 Jazz Fest lineup will deliver an unprecedented balance of the traditional and the contemporary, in all of the many music categories the Festival presents," said Quint Davis, producer/director of Jazz Fest in a statement. "This lineup reminds us that the artists we grew up with are now the icons of today, and that today's new heroes are tomorrow's heritage. We're honored to be able to once again celebrate the soul of America as only New Orleans and the Jazz Fest can."
This year's fest is also hosting a celebration honoring Haitian culture billed as the largest Haitian cultural event in the U.S. since the devastating earthquake a year ago. The event will include appearances by music artists such as Wyclef Jean, Boukman Eksperyans and Tabou Combo.
It's interesting to note the overlap between this year's Jazz Fest and Coachella, which yesterday announced its line-up. That artists such as Arcade Fire, the Strokes, Mumford & Sons, and Ms. Lauryn Hill are playing both festivals, as well as the fact that pop superstars like Kid Rock, Bon Jovi and Lupe Fiasco are also playing the Big Easy, points to how Jazz Fest has broadened its appeal over the span of its 40-plus year history.
The 7-day music confab takes place over two consecutive weekends, April 29 - May 1 and May 5 - 8 and held at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Tickets go on sale today and can be purchased at the New Orleans Jazz Festival site (www.nojazzfest.com) or Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).