So obviously most of us have heard about Mardi Gras, but the New Orleans Jazz Fest is an event that actually rivals that famous party scene and is held every year as well at the end of April and into early May. Unlike Mardi Gras it doesn’t spread throughout the city, though plenty of people celebrate it in their own way throughout the Big Easy and enjoy the culture and heritage that’s on display throughout the festival. In terms of documentaries it’s hard to say if anyone’s ever tried but this would be one of those times when someone with enough ambition and a good camera might be able to bring more attention to the event since it is a big happening down in NOLA and does pull in a large number of people and some very notable celebrities.
The size of this festival is simply amazing since they have different tents and performance stages that are designed to allow a wide range of performers and demonstrations to take place throughout the festival. When it comes to performing though the general rule seems to be that the festival prefers to promote local performers, which makes sense to be honest since it’s a local festival and not an international event. But be that as it may the festival manages to pull people from around the globe to enjoy the good times, good food, and outstanding music and sights that are on display the entire time. Plus it’s a good way to drum up more business for New Orleans since you can imagine that the hotels and businesses that are nearby see a lot of the runoff and residuals from the festival as well.
This is why a documentary needs to be made of this festival, to show the effect that it has upon the city and what kind of importance it carries to those that live within the Big Easy, be they business owners or not. The history of the Jazz Festival was begun in 1970, but there had been talks to bring it to light some time before that. When famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson decided to enter the picture however things got started in a way that would never be reversed since the festival became a local hit and started rolling with no intention of stopping after that point. It doesn’t matter if it’s rain or shine, the most dedicated and devoted festival-goers will still be out there with ponchos, umbrellas, and whatever else they need to enjoy the festivities and the local culture that’s on display.
A well-ordered documentary could go from the beginnings of the festival all the way to the present moment, detailing just what happened when the festival first got started to when Hurricane Katrina rolled through to the east, putting the city under nearly 15 feet of water. Despite all that, Jazz Fest was still up and running 8 months later as it was seen, alluding to the stubborn and irrepressible nature of New Orleans and its people. While much of the city still felt the impact for a good deal of time after the hurricane’s passing the festival went on, doing what it could to raise the kind of money for the people affected that it could. A documentary would be considered smartly done and even masterful if it were to include this part of the NOLA’s history since it’s something that’s not exactly a proud moment in and of itself, but brings great pride to the city in how they handled it and how they went about pushing forward in the wake of such a disaster. If nothing else the documentary could show people the spirit of New Orleans and how vibrant it is while at the same time giving rise to the fact that the city and its people are inordinately tough and good-spirited enough to not let anything drag them down for long.
The essence of such a movie would be that Jazz Fest is more than just a festival, more than just an enormous party that so many people are willing to partake of, it’s a part of the very heart of NOLA that so many people seem to miss thanks to the partying aspect of the city. The Big Easy draws in hundreds of thousands of people every year if not more and has been hailed as one of the most entertaining cities to visit throughout the US, but if you look closer you’ll see it’s also one of the toughest and most resilient cities as well since it’s been through enough in its history to lay claim to being home to those that know how to handle adversity. Such a movie would be a grand testament to a city that many people happen to know by name, but would likely want to learn more about following this kind of exposure.
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