Wednesday, June 23, 2021

NOLA Jazzfest 2021, Artist Predictions

So... we did this back in early 2020, and got a bunch right...then Jazzfest was canceled. Let's hope this one is happens and a lot of the same artists are involved. 

The lineup for the 2021 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 each year) including nationally touring NOLA acts like Irma ThomasKermit RuffinsFunky Big Sam,  GalacticTrombone Shorty 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. This is the first time the festival is being held in October so that changes things.

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...

Neil Young & Crazy Horse 

We featured them in our Masters Series and we think are a pretty safe bet to play the festival. Horse was supposed to tour pre-pandemic so hopefully they get it together now. Maybe not the Horse, but Neil will probably play in some capacity, maybe with Promise of the Real


She was gonna headline in 2020, she will probably headline in 2021. Lizzo will fit perfectly down at Jazzfest closing out one of the big stages.

Kesha's tour with NOLA bounce legend Big Freedia never happened so why not get after it at Jazzfest together.

Dead & Co. 

Were going to headline 2020, they should come back and do it in 2021.

Jimmy Buffet 

Another safe bet as he always plays down at Jazzfest (he is even wearing a Jazzfest hat in that picture) 

Van Morrison
Grumpy new album, pretty safe that Van the Man heads down south to New Orleans

Brittany Howard

Ahh someone new, younger and good!  RtBE loved her first solo record and could see her closing out one of the stages this fall.

Now some bands who always seem to play the festival, and with good reason. They will probably be playing the festival again this year:

 RtBE has caught them a few times already in the Big Easy. Seems pretty safe bet.

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:

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

I am not sure this act has ever played Jazzfest, and they would fit in perfectly! 

The Avett Brothers
Seems like a pretty good bet they will be there and probably headlining the Acura stage.

The Black Pumas

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

October 17th is open in the touring schedule. Let's get after it in NOLA. 

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

No October dates passed the 8th?  Good bet Isbell and company headline an Acura stage. 

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. She also has a new album coming out. 

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 was supposed to tour with Adrian Belew and Jerry Harrison to celebrate The Talking Heads Remain in the Light's 40th Anniversary.  If it still happens this tour will def be hitting a stage in NOLA one of the two weekends.

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
Mavis is always touring when it is allowed.  Pretty good bet her and her excellent band will drop by.

Shannon and the Clams
They are also releasing a new album so here's hoping they play 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.

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-
They announced their final tour recently...perhaps they can squeeze in a festival date?

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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