1970 and 1971, The First Two Jazz Fests

“Music IS the Scene”: Jazz Fest’s First Decade, 1970-1979



The first and second Jazz Fest events, in 1970 and 1971, were held in Beauregard Square and the Municipal Auditorium, both located on the edge of the French Quarter in the Tremé neighborhood, inside the space now known as Louis Armstrong Park. Beauregard Square was later renamed Congo Square, after its original 19th century site as a public vending market and gathering space where enslaved Africans were allowed to gather for dancing and drumming on Sundays.

“. . . in 1954, George (Wein) started the Newport Jazz Festival, which was the first big outdoor – before Woodstock – music festival with speakers and chairs and it wasn’t in a concert hall. Then in 1959, they started – Pete Seeger’s idea – the Newport Folk Festival, and it was really the Newport Folk Festival that was the progenitor of Jazz Fest. Newport Folk Festival gathered together all the great (artists) . . . they had gospel, they had blues, they had Cajun, they had zydeco.”

-Quint Davis, The Incomplete, Year-by-Year Selectively Quirky, Prime Facts Edition of the History of The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2005

 

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Mahalia Jackson and the Eureka Brass Band share a moment off stage and in Beauregard Square at the inaugural Jazz Fest, April 23, 1970, photographer unidentified, Laurraine Goreau collection HJA-059, LGPH0215, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified minister preaches on stage at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified group performs at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Unidentified musicians and spectators enjoy the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
The Country Cajuns perform at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified band performs at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified guitarist performs at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified group performs at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
An unidentified woman smiles at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Audience members sit on the ground of Beauregard Square, 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Two men stand at the 1971 Jazz Fest site of Beauregard Square, which has since been renamed Congo Square, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Unidentified musicians perform at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Guitarist Snooks Eaglin and drummer Edward "Shiba" Kimbrough perform as part of Professor Longhair's band at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Guitarist Snooks Eaglin, Professor Longhair on piano, and an unidentified man appear at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Professor Longhair on piano, Snooks Eaglin on guitar, and Edward "Shiba" Kimbrough on drums perform at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Professor Longhair performs at the 1971 Jazz Fest, photographer unidentified; Allison Miner papers HJA-039, “Photos” box, Tulane University Special Collections.
Page 1 of the Louisiana Tourist Commission press release about the inaugural New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, produced by George Wein, March 1970, Hogan Archive vertical file, Tulane University Special Collections.
Newspaper clipping of a profile and red beans and rice recipe for restauranteur and Jazz Fest food vendor Clarence “Buster” Holmes, April 23, 1970, 'New Orleans-States Item,' Hogan Archive vertical file, Tulane University Special Collections.
Comic by Ralph Vinson, April 25, 1970, New Orleans States-Item, Hogan Archive vertical file, Tulane University Special Collections.
“N.O. to Host Jazz Feast” article written by Judy Kolb, February 20, 1970, in advance of the inaugural New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 'Vieux Carré Courier,' Hogan Archive vertical file, Tulane University Special Collections.
Ad clipping for Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music Concert, presented as an evening show on April 26 during Jazz Fest 1970; April 25, 1970, 'New Orleans-States Item,' Hogan Archive vertical file, Tulane University Special Collections.