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‘You call this jazz?’ Jazz Fest celebrates 50 eclectic years

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is celebrating its 50th year.

The first year, performers outnumbered audience members. The second year, a patron responded to the gospel stage by asking original producer George Wein, “You call this jazz?”

Now hundreds of thousands of visitors attend. The 50th anniversary festival covers eight days over two weekends, starting Thursday.

People can plunk themselves down for a full day of, say, jazz, blues, Cajun or gospel music or they can bounce between the various tents and stages.

Wein, now 93, says this year he wants to see the Marsalis family playing together. They will close the festival’s first weekend at the Jazz Tent.

Other first-weekend acts include Katy Perry, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs and Santana.

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