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New Orleans Jazz Fest 2020 Is Postponed Until Fall

Treme Brass Band at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, April 26, 2014.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2020 has been rescheduled from its spring dates, April 23 through May 3, to the fall, organizers announced Tuesday evening.

At the bidding of city officals, organizers decided to postpone Jazz Fest because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The health and safety of the community, our musicians, festival fans, participants, sponsors and staff are paramount, and we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials," they said in a statement. 

This year’s slate of headliners includes The Who, Foo Fighters, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Lizzo, Lionel Richie, The Black Crowes, Wu-Tang Clan featuring The Soul Rebels, Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, and Erykah Badu. It has not been announced if the fall date will include the same lineup.

What started out as a small concert in Congo Square in 1970 now draws about a half-million visitors to the New Orleans Fairgrounds. Except for Mardi Gras, the 10-day music showcase is the main driver of local tourism in New Orleans, bringing in a reported $300 million annually to the city.

This is the first time in its 50-year run that the festival has nixed its springtime rites. Even after Hurricane Katrina, Jazz Fest brought an influx of visitors to the storm-ravaged city during late April.

Betsy Shepherd covers environmental news and is producing a podcast on the Civil Rights Movement in small-town Louisiana. She won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for a feature she reported on Louisiana’s 2016 floods.

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