[Photo Credit: Instagram @hoyajax]

Jazz Festival's Second Saturday

20:16 May 06, 2017
By: Emily Hingle

There's something about the Gentilly Stage that keeps me hovering around it throughout the day! And this year was no different. I walked into the festival hearing the sweet, familiar sound of Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys. I've been watching this spicy little fiddler play since she was a pre-teen, and she aboslutely never disappoints when she really starts sawing on her instrument. Next up on the stage was another female-led local band that I aboslutley love and who is seriously blowing up right now: Tank & The Bangas. Tank herself commanded the stage with her incredibly unique presence and her humungous, mesmerizing hair. She was backed by her full band, her lovely backup singers, and dancers dressed in full colorful body suits. What marvels me about Tank is her ability to adapt her show to the place she's playing and make it a spectacle of music, art, and poetry that you just can't find with any other band out there.

I relegated myself to exploring the lesser-traveled areas of Jazz Fest which is a little tradition of mine. I visited the Cuban culutral pavillions, I watched the guitarists at the Lagniappe Stage in the Grandstand, which I was happy to see so well populated, and I caught interviews at the Alison Minor interview stage. I caught the tailend of a Harry Shearer interview with Judith Owen, but I was quite happy to see Tank walk on stage next to be interviewed by DJ Soul Sister!

Then it was time for me to get me late afternoon nibbles and head out to the Gentilly Stage for Meghan Trainor. Before you get on my case: I do enjoy Stevie Wonder. But I've seen the legend before and in a much more comfortable place than the Acura Stage. I was able to have a nice, wide-open spot under a shady tree for the pop princess, and her brand of happy, retro songs was just what the doctor ordered for me. After weathering so many fests, I need to find joyful moments of respite in my day. Meghan walked the stage among her smiling dancers with a flowing red jacket while she sang her hits "All About That Bass" and "Dear Future Husband." She also exclaimed her happiness at her extended family and boyfriend all in the front row.

And I must say that I've never seen so many people really dancing at the Fest before. People certainly shuffle along to the tunes at the fest, but there's usually no room to take your sweetie by the hand and lead them in a couple's dance. Here I saw happy people really enjoying dancing with each other in the gentle breeze and bright sunshine. I couldn't help but be joyous watching so many little kids digging her sound too. One eight-year old boy in particular was grooving the entire time, and it brought a huge smile to my face.

Photo Credit: Instagram @hoyajax

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