WWOZ to broadcast eight days of archival New Orleans Jazz Fest 'greatest hits'
Under normal circumstances, staffers at community radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM would be preparing for their annual live broadcast from the Fair Grounds during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Jazz Fest has been canceled. So instead, WWOZ will broadcast a sort of Jazz Fest greatest hits.
Starting at 11 a.m. on April 23 — what was the originally scheduled opening day of the 2020 Jazz Fest — the station will air selected live recordings from past festivals. The "Jazz Festing in Place" on-air festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each of the eight days that OZ would have been broadcasting from its hospitality tent on the Jazz Fest grounds, April 23 to 26 and April 30 to May 3.
The station also plans to create its own scheduling "cubes." Featured acts who will appear on those cubes and in the broadcasts include Dr. John, Fats Domino, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Henry Butler, Marcia Ball, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mardi Gras Indians, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, John Boutte, the Radiators, Big Freedia, Ernie K-Doe, Ellis Marsalis, Danny Barker, the Rebirth Brass Band, Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band and more.
Additionally, WWOZ will air the "Fire Benefit," a 1974 concert to raise money for piano legend Professor Longhair after his house caught fire. Longhair, Dr. John, the Wild Magnolias and other local legends appeared on the bill.
The special eight-day "Festing in Place" broadcast will also feature interview segments about food, music and crafts, as well as recipes for Jazz Fest cuisine.
To foster some semblance of the Jazz Fest community in isolation, WWOZ is soliciting photos from listeners of their "Festing in Place outposts and fest-worthy attire.
The broadcasts will air on the radio station locally and stream worldwide via the WWOZ web site.
The WWOZ operating license is owned by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the non-profit organization that also owns Jazz Fest.