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50th New Orleans Jazz Fest opens after brief rain delay

Updated : 2019-04-26 09:13:13

Rain delayed the start of the 50th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday but didn't seem to dampen spirits.

People in slickers, transparent ponchos and trash bags turned to impromptu ponchos continued to stream into the infield and the soggy sand of the racetrack. One pair in black rain jackets added kitchen-sized trash bags as goloshes.

Food sales continued even during the rain, though dark plastic liners were pulled down to about 18 inches (less than half a meter) from the counters and lines of customers were far shorter than usual.

Music tents were packed with both fans of a genre — blues, jazz, gospel — and people taking shelter.

Earlier in the day, Lisa Wurtzel of New Orleans two-stepped with her husband, David Wurtzel, to the Cajun beat of Toujours Balfa. Both wore rubber boots; Lisa Wurtzel said they had more rain gear in case of more rain — and there were indeed more downpours.

The gates opened 90 minutes late, with the day's scheduled second acts as starters. Many played sets much shorter than originally planned. Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Review had 25 minutes rather than 45; Balfa Toujours had 30 minutes rather than 50.

There were still more than 60 acts and interviews at 13 stages and tents — 10 for music plus an interview stage, a kids' tent and a cultural exchange pavilion. The pavilion usually focuses on a single country but this year features more than 150 performers from 13 countries over the two weekends of Jazz Fest.

Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Samantha Gaboula of San Francisco left, and Kelly Grace, of Philadelphia, dance to the music of Alanis Morissette at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Samantha Gaboula of San Francisco left, and Kelly Grace, of Philadelphia, dance to the music of Alanis Morissette at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
The music group, Boyfriend, performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
The music group, Boyfriend, performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
The music group, Boyfriend, performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
The music group, Boyfriend, performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Earth, Wind & Fire members perform on the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Earth, Wind & Fire members perform on the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Alanis Morissette performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Alanis Morissette performs at the Gentilly Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker)
Alanis Morissette performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Alanis Morissette performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Alanis Morissette performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Alanis Morissette performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers Joe Spotam left, and Brandon Bushnell, both of California, wear ponchos at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers Joe Spotam left, and Brandon Bushnell, both of California, wear ponchos at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Storm clouds hover over the Acura stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Storm clouds hover over the Acura stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ciara performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Festival-goers seek shelter from the rain while waiting for Rockin' Dopsie, Jr., and the Zydeco Twisters to perform at the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers seek shelter from the rain while waiting for Rockin' Dopsie, Jr., and the Zydeco Twisters to perform at the Acura Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers run from the downpour at the WWOZ Jazz Tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers run from the downpour at the WWOZ Jazz Tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers wear rain gear as they roam the flooded grounds at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Festival-goers wear rain gear as they roam the flooded grounds at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Drummer Jason Marsalis performs in the WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Richard Ashmore, of Kenner, La, waits for the gates to open at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Richard Ashmore, of Kenner, La, waits for the gates to open at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans, Thursday, April 25, 2019. The opening was delayed by heavy rain. (AP Photo/Doug Parker}
Ralph Johnson, from left, Verdine White, B. David Whitworth, and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Ralph Johnson, from left, Verdine White, B. David Whitworth, and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New Orleans. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
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