Day 23 – April 28

Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem.”
I travelled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell – Bob Dylan – Blind Willie McTell

Jazz Fest – Week Two

We were walking down Burgundy towards Iggy’s and an ambulance pulled up to ask us if we had seen anyone lying on the sidewalk. There is normally someone lying on the sidewalk on nearly every block but I hadn’t seen anyone today. One of the ambulance guys said to Kate, ‘nice ink.’ She gets a lot of those comments.

We got to Jazz Fest without any drama but the weather if looking iffy. Thunderstorms and heavy rain has been predicted. Thursday of the second week of Jazz Fest is always a little easier to get around crowd wise. Wendy got me a cool Jazz Fest t-shirt featuring guitars and an alligator on the back. I told Kate that I knew which way the weather was coming from and we will not get any rain soon. The rain started five minutes later.

Started the day food wise with Creole Chicken and Tasso (Ham) over Creole Rice. While I eat the girls have gone over to the bookstore to get a N.O. colouring book. The wind is starting to pick up and the rain getting a little heavier. Wendy told me to pack my rain coat but as usual I ignored the advice. Glad they were giving out free ponchos near the entrance.
I thought it best that we head over to the WWOZ tent, not just for the fresh fruit and iced coffee but also for the shelter. We got there just as another downpour started. I know we get heavy rain back in Melbourne but when I write downpour here just think like standing under a waterfall. Kate tapped into the free Wi-Fi to put on our footy tips. Who the hell do you pick, Carlton V’s Essendon. I have gone for the Blues to continue their winning streak of one.

We went to the photo displays under the Grandstand. There is also a magnificent  St. Joseph’s Day Voodoo Shrine dedicated to Allen Toussaint. Also at the shrine you can grab yourself a lucky Fava Bean which is meant to be kept in your wallet.

The fava bean plays a role on the feast of St. Joseph and the tradition of the Altar or Table for March 19. Here is a short explanation.

Fava bean (vicia fava) —Fava beans play a large role in the Sicilian tradition of the St. Joseph Table or St. Joseph Altar. They may be served in a frittata or in garlic sauce. When dried, roasted and blessed, it becomes the very popular “lucky bean.” Legend has it that you will never be broke as long as you carry one. Some people believe that if you keep one in the pantry, there will always be food in the kitchen.

The myth of the fava bean began during the famine in Sicily, where the bean was used as fodder for cattle. To survive, the farmers prepared them for the table. Hence, they considered themselves lucky to have them. The bean is also a symbol of fertility since it grows well even in poor, rocky soil. Italians would carry a bean from a good crop to ensure a good crop the following year.

The blessed dried beans are distributed on the altars along with a piece of blessed bread.

The rain has finally stopped for the moment but we know there is more on the way. We walked over to the Gentilly Stage and saw the last couple of songs from Mia Borders.

The girls bailed out at 1:15 as they know a storm is a coming. I am going to stay for the duration as the closing act of the day is one I want to see. I got my first beer and stood in another downpour while watching the slide maestro Sonny Landreth. I had to keep my thumb over the beer can opening otherwise I will be drinking a very diluted brew. Now there is thunder and lightening to add to the rain. One thunder clap was so loud that I jumped out of my skin. I made my way over to what was left of the Iggy’s crew . Just as Sonny Landreth finished his set the sun broke out. It was like watching 20,000 bears all come out of hibernation at once. People coming out from sitting under umbrellas and ponchos. Within 5 minutes I was roasting. It was like the rain had just basted my skin and now I was back in the oven.

Gary Clarke Jnr. got the crowd up and going again and the two jelly shots that Aaron gave me also assisted. Many people have left the Fest early as to be honest the rain was real bad. But Mike did point out that it was a perfect Jazz Fest as there is not a line any where for food, booze or the loos.

I made it to the closing act. The Tedeschi Trucks Band. Sensational and even more when two special guests came on stage to join in the guitar show. The two guests in question being Jimmy Vaughan and Billy Gibbons (ZZTop). Somehow the four guitar heroes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy and Billy all gave each other room and had the chance to show off four very different playing styles. One of the guys from the float we rode earlier in the month passed me his flask of moonshine which warmed the cockles of my heart. They are a very sharing lot! The band played a moving tribute to Mr. B.B.King

I left with the last of the Iggy’s crew to get the shuttle home. Very proud of the fact that I have been given the Iggy’s flag to carry back to our pick-up spot. As Wendy later said, ‘you know that you have made it if you get to carry the flag.’ I am writing in my dairy under duress as it has got soaked and all the pages are stuck together. I can only write on half pages as the outer part of the pages tear if you write there. My diary is looking a little like the Dead Sea Scrolls – all wet papyrus and words of wisdom.

We got back to Iggy’s very sodden but happy. What is Jazz Fest without rain. As long as the music is playing the people are staying. I had a couple of beers and then took off for home. Should have relieved the bladder first as I only got two blocks and I had to call into the Royal Street Hotel Tap Bar for relief. I guess you can’t just use a rest room without having a beer as well and so I did.

Another fine day of music and adventure.

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