Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NOLA Jazzfest 2020, Artist Predictions

The lineup for the 2019 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will be announced tomorrow but RtBE got the early scoop...

Actually no we don't...but since it is fun to predict, lets look into the crystal ball and guess who will be and who should be playing.

We will exclude the brass bands and local acts (even though they are truly the main reason we go) including nationally touring NOLA acts like Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Big Sam,  GalacticTrombone Shorty all the Brass Bands who will all be there.

Also we are obviously skipping the great jazz, blues and gospel acts who will be the foundation of the festival in their respective tents. Lets just talk about the bigger national touring artists for now....We will focus more on locals closer to the show.
To get in the southern festive NOLA mood, here is a great video done by Jeronimo Acero that my friend the fantastic Lu Brow sent north to warm me up during the winter.
Now on to the predictions....

Let's start with some Headliner size guesses...

The Who

The Who Two of Townshend and Daltry let leak a few months back that they would be in New Orleans the end of April. This one is the biggest lock on the board.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse 

The second artist we featured in our Masters Series who we think are a pretty safe bet to play the festival. The Who and Neil Young with Crazy Horse at Jazzfest? This just proves rock and roll can never die...

Pearl Jam

A recently announced new album means that the Seattle rockers will be out on the road this spring and both weekends are currently wide open. Here is hoping they play the second one.


When Bonnaroo announced their headliners a few weeks back Lizzo seemed a pretty big jump up the ranks to headliner status, but she would fit perfectly down at Jazzfest closing out one of the big stages.

Staying in the pop realm Kesha just announced a tour with NOLA bounce legend Big Freedia and has an open tour date on the 25th of April. She is very likely the pop star headliner for Friday during the first weekend.

Dead & Co. 

All of the early announced late night shows have some sort of Grateful Dead vibe going for them.  Seems a pretty safe bet that the crew headline this year, something this formation has yet to do.

Jimmy Buffet 

Another safe bet as he always plays down at Jazzfest (he is even wearing a Jazzfest hat in that picture) and his current tour has a big gap in it over the second weekend of the Festival. We will call a Saturday headlining slot for Buffet and the parrot heads on May 2nd.

Van Morrison
Sticking tour dates posted after April 4th, so perhaps Van the Man heads down south to New Orleans

Brittany Howard

Ahh someone new, younger and good! She is playing High Water Festival the weekend before Jazzfest kick's off so here is hoping she stays on the festival circuit. RtBE loved her first solo record and could see her closing out one of the stages this spring.

They are playing again and were born during a late night post festival show way back in 2000 but it feels like their 20th Anniversary would again be a late night show instead of a Festival slot. You never know the grand pecking order of things though.

Now some bands who always seem to be on the bill with good reason and will probably be playing the festival again this year:

They are touring this spring, so Jazzfest is always very likely with this crew as RtBE has caught them a few times already in the Big Easy.

Trucks and Tedeschi Band

Because they should headline every Thursday of the second weekend, they are the right band for that job with Widespread Panic not touring as much...speaking of which...

Widespread Panic

Because if they are touring, they are playing Jazzfest.

Now a few lower level national touring acts who could/should be gracing the stages:

The Avett Brothers

There is a gap on this touring bands schedule during the first weekend of the festival and they will be in that exact part of the country before and after (Alabama on one side, Texas the other) .  Seems like a pretty good bet they will be there and probably headlining the Acura stage.

The Black Pumas

At the moment both weekends are open on their tour schedule and selfishly RtBE hopes they play the second weekend when we will be there. We loved their debut record (it also made our top ten list) and would dig catching them at the Fairgrounds.

Drive-By Truckers

New album coming later this month and this just feels like a natural fit. Shockingly RtBE have yet to catch DBT at JF yet....speaking of the Truckers

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

A new album on the way in early 2020 and yet another band that should be playing every year at the festival. Speaking of which...

The Highwomen

A new group that will hopefully make their debut at Jazzfest this year.  Speaking of which...


This sometimes member of The Highwomen is touring and she is poised for a breakout in 2020, even though RtBE rated her debut highly in 2019. (OK will end that Speaking of which bit now...)

Yeah Yeah Yeah's

The indie rockers have a few dates on the calendar and would seem to be a good fit to close the Acura stage one weekend as the festival usually gets some indie cred on that stage for a day.


The band is touring with Adrian Belew and Jerry Harrison to celebrate The Talking Heads Remain in the Light's 40th Anniversary.  Makes sense since we felt their last record was a knock off of that band's style. This tour will def be hitting a stage in NOLA one of the two weekends.

Delta Spirit

The band is reforming and touring this spring and Jazzfest would seem like a natural fit. the tour dates look like a show closing Sunday set could be in the cards. 

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

I don't think these prog rockers have yet to play the festival, while their antics may be better suited for late nights they could def throw down an interesting afternoon set.

Mavis Staples
She is touring this Spring and has a gap in dates right around the first weekend.  Pretty good bet her and her excellent band will drop by.

Shannon and the Clams
They are touring again this spring and have a both weekends currently open, so here's hoping they play the second as we loved the recent set of theirs we caught in Brooklyn. They would also be a fun late night show if they chose to go that route.

The Raconteurs
No tour dates yet for the Rac's in 2020, but would love them to strap it on at the fest this year. They provided one of our favorite Jazzfest sets ever on the Gentilly Stage back in 2008.

And now some people who RtBE loves and feel that they should be playing the festival (or late night), but probably won't be...

Dr. Dog-
We think this shaggy bunch would fit in perfectly at the fest and yet they have not played it. One of these years...

Screaming Females-
Unlike Dr Dog, ScreMales don't really fit the festival vibe, but a late night set of kick ass rock and roll would be a fucking delight.

Lil' Wayne-

Probably not the NOLA festival for him, but hot dam RtBE would love to catch Weezy at the fairgrounds.

Bob Dylan-
One of these years he is going to return to the festival, so why not this year...we loved the last Beacon show he played and it seems like a good time to bring the Bard back.

Tom Waits-
If we are shooting for the moon....why not Waits??!?!

Who do think is playing, who do you want? Feel free to comment below and stay tuned for the official announcement. 

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