Quint Davis, the festival's producer and director, said within days of Hurricane Katrina last fall that there would be a Jazz Fest, as it is known, in 2006. But at the time it was unclear whether it would be possible to hold the event at the Fair Grounds or in New Orleans at all.
"We're dedicating this year's festival to the people of New Orleans and inviting everybody who cares about this city to come to Jazz Fest and play a meaningful role in bringing back the city's culture, which is the soul of America," Davis said. "Jazz Fest 2006 will be a homecoming party for thousands of New Orleans musicians, festival chefs, and craftspeople, and we want the world to join us in welcoming them back as we present the celebration of a lifetime."
For the first time, the festival will have a "presenting sponsor": the Shell oil company. Without the company's support, Davis said, the festival could not have been produced "on the grand scale everyone is accustomed to."
Fats Domino, the legendary New Orleans rhythm and blues singer, will be featured on the 2006 festival poster, and will perform. The remainder of the lineup has not yet been announced.
The festival has traditionally brought hundreds of acts to tents and outdoor stages at the Fair Grounds and to clubs all over the city, and includes brass bands, blues, pop, zydeco, world music, gospel, folk, and country music as well as jazz. It also includes displays by local artists and craftspeople and a wide variety of the area's signature cuisine.
Jazz Fest will again be co-produced by AEG Live, the concert-producing conglomerate that stepped in 2005, when the festival was facing an unprecedented debt. George Wein's Festival Productions, which created the festival in 1970, will continue to be co-producer.
Tickets are now on sale at www.nojazzfest.com and via Ticketmaster.