Jean-Paul Villere: The top 10 11th-hour predictions for JazzFest 2015

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Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

With the 2015 JazzFest lineup set about to be revealed on Monday, my thoughts have escalated into the unknown and the possible for who and what might appear this season.  In the past my notions have been met with mild success, what with HangoutFest and its line-up, now firmly affixed in mid-May, often casting a who’s who of who isn’t playing JazzFest.  Somehow I feel like this is my year.  The Who / Joan Jett are touring ensemble at this time with a mysterious void in their tour around JazzFest, same with Hozier and Wilco; so to say they’re all candidates exceeds likelihood.  As such, I shall humbly exclude them from my top 10.  Therefore without further delay: prognosticate this!

1) Elton John  Are you ready to sing along on a Saturday headlining set that indeed Saturday night is alright for fighting?  I am.  Alright, alright, ooooo-ooooo-ooooo.  Fingers crossed.  Who wouldn’t want to hear EJ belt out his catalogue?

2) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  New album released late last year to much fanfare with a nice tour that excluded the Crescent City.  A la Bruce Springsteen’s recent boomerang return to JazzFest, Tom and his krewe just performed in recent years after having never been invited and the set was played to a packed field.

3) Neil Diamond  Sweet Caroline!  This feels like a winner.  And I’m pretty sure ol’ Neil has never played the Fairgrounds.

4) Tony Bennett / Lady Gaga  Likely choice, if not a little obtuse.  Mr. Bennett played the fest sans Gaga a few years back, but this duo and their recent collaborations could easily bring the Coppertoned cross-generationals out in full force.

5) Jack White  No stranger to New Orleans having most recently played to a packed Saenger audience early last summer, I think Mr. White still has plenty of energy to share and mileage to achieve with his latest ensemble and recordings.

6) Cracker  Isn’t it about time?  For the record, this is my longshot on the list.  Cracker just put out a double album, has never played JazzFest, likes to play Tipitina’s when they hit town, and goshdarnit let’s give the masses – or at least me – what they want!

7) Beck In all fairness, this is my extra longshot, call it my lagniappe fingercrossing, so that’s why I’m slating it for 7th for a little extra luck.  After two decades of not playing New Orleans, Beck played to a sold out show at the House of Blues this past fall.  And well, he needs to come back.

8) Damien Jurado  Have you heard Damien Jurado before?  His sound would fit so perfectly into the cannon of JazzFest performers.  Ok, this is my extra extra longshot.  If the powers that be skip on talent like Jurado’s then pffft somebody ain’t doin’ their job.

9) The Mavericks  The story goes The Mavericks are set to have a set to have a stellar 2015, so why wouldn’t that include an appearance?  I think the odds are good here.

10) Ryan Adams  The mercurial and prolific songwriter has had a rollercoaster of a career, recording, and performing.  Not surprisingly he has new material to share and a JazzFest slot could be the sweetest plum.

So that’s what I’ve got.  Short on estrogen this go round, but we’ll know soon what the line-up is proper.  Until then, what are your predictions?

Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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