Every year, people wait with baited breath to see what music legends will be coming to New Orleans and what days, so they can plan the ultimate outdoor festival experience for themselves.
It is an art deciding who you will see, when to schedule food breaks, when to try to get a free ticket versus days you know you don't want to miss, how drunk you want to be, etc. But you can only do so much. The lineup is the most important factor and dictates everything else. Jazz Fest has done a pretty good job so far, but no one's perfect and there's always room for improvement. What haven't they done that would make an already pretty great thing perfect? What is the perfect Jazz Fest lineup? One perfect lineup doesn't exist, but we have taken the time to explore some channels new and old to create—a Dream Jazz Fest Lineup.
Your mom: She has so much to say and you never listen to her. Can you imagine how high with joy she would get from having a microphone and a stage all to herself? Also no one would get dehydrated or sunburned because you know she'd have water bottles and sunscreen to pass around. It would be one of those immersive concert experiences with stories about your grandpa, some advice, a few jokes, compliments that kind of make you feel bad, and homemade treats. A Fest for the senses.
Stevie Wonder: Okay so he already came to the Fest, but you think you're too good to hear Stevie Wonder a second time? One of the few artists with multiple hours of number one songs to choose from, he's made for live shows, and last time he came it rained, so here's a chance to do it right.
Shrek: First, every kid would be at his stage, leaving the rest of us free to openly do drugs in peace. And secondly, he's pro-union, so he could teach them the importance of community organizing, falling in love based on merit, and using a slug as body wash. An eco-friendly and sustainable king.
Jon Bon Jovi: This one is for the women 40 and above. Haven't they had enough? Don't they deserve a break? I don't understand the appeal, but I know it's there, and I want that for them. Living on a prayer, laughing on a prayer, loving on a prayer.
Kanye West: Look, he's in the middle of a mental break. He needs love and support and time and thousands of people screaming "Gold Digger" at him. He has a new album coming out and somehow has not burned through people's goodwill for him. Taking it back to performing could feel like a healthy release for him, and I know he would make an incredible bounce song if he was here long enough. Let us pray.
Santa: Presents for everyone and a quick check in about how you're doing for the year. We need it. The reindeer would have Grateful Dead bandanas. The rest of the year? Santa is a huge deadhead; it just doesn't go with his Christmas look. But Santa in the spring? A pretty chill dude.
Skrillex: This is for the Tulane students? Or someone? I don't know, but I don't want a drunk person in dayglo paint to yell at me or crowd at the stage I'm at, so let's get him in there. Why not? What could he cost? $95?
200 Dogs: Pure chaos. More than it is about music, I could argue the day is about letting go of control and embracing the inevitability of the universe. Not only do dogs understand that, they are a part of that. It's time for all of us to "unleash."
Coldplay: They would throw beach balls in the crowd and play "The Scientist," and that's nice.
Olivia Rodrigo: This is her year.
Janelle Monae: Always.