Day Twenty Nine – Day One Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest – Day One
Blues Idiom – Honey Dripper – is a female lover … or someone who makes the honey drip

We are at Iggy’s bar at 10:30 to join the locals on their small shuttle bus for the ride over to Jazz Fest. We three are the only ones not to have some type of alcoholic beverage in hand. Mark, who we met on the ride back from last week’s crawfish boil is a short guy. He rode home in the tunk from the ‘boil.’ Today he is sitting on the floor of the van as all the seats are taken. Pat calls him ‘drunk Mark.’ Had to laugh when he said ‘how come ya’ll in my bedroom.’

We got dropped off near an entrance and Kate has been given the job of remembering the spot as this will also be our pick up point. Just before 11 and the line is long but it does not take much time to get in. The Iggy’s crew head for the Blues tent to see Ernie Vince. After Ernie’s set they will then head to the Acura stage to set up for the day. Acura is the largest outdoor stage and it is where the headliners play. We will meet up with them later. They have (like a lot 0f people) a flag pole with their unique  Iggy’s flag attached. It is a way to find your friends in the large crowds.
I have decided to show the girls around the site (fairgrounds and horse track)so as they have some idea of where they are if we get separated.

Kate has had her first real gospel experience. Some old school testifying gospel music. She may not have been saved but she liked it a lot.

First off we called into the WWOZ hospitality tent for fresh fruit salad and a cold drink. Kate is very impressed with the amount of strawberries on offer. We found a table with just one guy sitting there. Blow me down when we got talking, he lives at Yarraville West! He asked me for my days recommendations and said he will start coming to some WOW gigs.
We caught a display of Native American dancing and then made our way to the Fais Do Do stage. This is where Carol and Stew set up shop for the day. It is Stew’s birthday and he already has some one dollar notes pinned to his shirt. That is the custom down here for a birthday.

We headed into the Blues Tent as I wanted to catch Jonathon ‘Boogie’ Long. Got there just as the Larry Garner band started their last song. Wish I had seen all of his set as he is  real good. Jonathon is a real fast and impressive axeman who is normally a side-man in  a number of local bands. He has just started up his own band and is singing as well. Lasted about three songs and then back to Fais Do Do for Paul Sanchez followed by Geno Delafose and his band ‘French Rockin Boogie’ The first beer of the day goes down well. Although I did have an issue with having no photo i.d. They had to call over a supervisor before I could get a cold one. He looked at me and said ‘if your arse is under 21 then I will kiss it.’ I got my beer.

The girls are going back to the blues tent for Kenny Neal (one of Wendy’s boy friends) and I headed to the Acura stage to try and find the Iggy’s gang and listen to the Tedeshi Trucks band. First off I needed another Coors. The guy behind the jump said, ‘were you at last week’s crawfish boil?’ Hmm I am getting recognised around town. I found the gang and was offered a seat and a beer. They always set up about half way back and close to a bank of speakers with a good view of one of severa huge screens. Guess these guys having being doing this for decades and they know where to go. The Acura Stage can be daunting with a big crowd and this is a real fine spot. The band were awesome. The weather if starting to close in and I got an idea that rain was coming when the Iggy’s crew started to pull out umbrellas
I decided to head to the shelter of the blues tent and found the girls front row (so proud of them) with a seat also for me. Caught the last few songs and got a photo taken with Kenny Neal.

I was real keen to see Jimmy Vaughan and his band do their thing. We did have a stage announcement that there was some real bad weather bearing down and that we should make sure we stayed safe. Jimmy was kicking arse and he launched into his brother’s Stevie Ray’s ‘Texas flood’ just as the heavens opened up. The rain is something that can be handled but the lightening is a another thing, not just for the musicians but also the punters out in the weather. Many of then with long flag poles. Another stage announcement came over ‘this is very dangerous weather, seek shelter.’ Just as Jimmy was about to start his next tune the stage announcer grabbed his mic and said, ‘ we gotta close all shows down, your safety is our priority.’ A few boos as Jimmy looked on very dejectedly.  Oh well nothing to do but get wet and head for our shuttle. We saw WOW regular Bernie as we left.

Big Dave was waiting at the pick up spot. The traffic is hectic but it only took about 15 minutes for the bus to arrive, although that was enough time to get a soaking. Back at Iggy’s for a quick drink then the walk home. The rain has let up but more storms predicted for tomorrow.

Rob Rowe