Tulane Library hosts new exhibit celebrating Jazz Fest’s first decade

Grand Marshall Walter Lewis parades with the Onward Brass Band at Jazz Fest, 1976. Photo by Harriet Blum, Hogan Archive Photography Collection, Tulane University Special Collections.

Tulane University Special Collections (TUSC) will present “The music is the stage”: the first decade of the jazz festival, 1970-1979, on view Friday, March 4 through Friday, May 27 in the TUSC Gallery on Tulane University’s Uptown Campus. The exhibit will feature archival materials and audio recordings related to the first 10 years of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazz Fest.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, returns in spring 2022 after its pandemic cancellations in spring 2020, spring 2021 and fall 2021. Despite low attendance in its first year in 1970, the Jazz Fest is now one of the top 10 music festivals in the United States, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors and hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the New Orleans economy. Although world famous, the festival remains a local favorite due to its dedication to celebrating New Orleans and its surrounding regions.

“Tulane University’s Special Collections Funds contain extraordinary Jazz Fest materials that I hope will entertain, educate and enliven gallery visitors as we welcome the return of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival” , said Melissa A. Weber, curator of the Hogan Archives of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz. “This exhibit not only celebrates Jazz Fest, but also speaks to the power of archives to document history.”

The TUSC Gallery is located on the second floor of Jones Hall, 6801 Freret St., in room 208A. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Special evening hours for the exhibition take place on “Moonlight Mondays” from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on March 28, April 25 and May 23. Special weekend hours are noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12; Sunday April 3; Saturday May 21; and Sunday May 22.

In addition to the gallery exhibit, visitors can view the materials online through Tulane University’s Digital Library. The online exhibition will remain visible after May 27.

For more information about the gallery and online exhibits, visit library.tulane.edu/tusc-jazzfest.

Onward Brass Band performs at Jazz Fest

Onward Brass Band performs at Jazz Fest in 1976. Left to right: Louis Cottrell, clarinet; Oscar Rouzan, alto saxophone; Waldren “Frog” Joseph, trombone; unidentified sousaphone player (possibly Jerry Greene); Freddie Lonzo, trombone; and Wendell Eugene, trombone. Photo by Harriet Blum, Hogan Archive Photography Collection, Tulane University Special Collections.

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