In the spirit of New Orleans | AspenTimes.com

In the spirit of New Orleans

Story and pictures by May Eynon

Widespread Panic guitarist and lead vocalist John J.B. Bell.

While Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Festival prevailed last weekend with beautiful weather and upbeat melodies, thoughts of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in New Orleans were inextricably linked to concertgoers’ minds and hearts. Aspen Volunteer Fire Department members canvassed the grounds throughout the five-day festival, collecting donations for the relief effort. Jazz Aspen Snowmass executive producer Jim Horowitz took to the stage Monday to honor the Southern city and birthplace of the original Jazz Fest. He pledged a $10,000 contribution on behalf of JAS to the Red Cross and encouraged all audience members to donate to a relief organization.

Musicians on all three festival stages also paid homage to New Orleans through their jazzy riffs. Following performances from Jerry Joseph & Friends and Johnny Clegg on Thursday and deSol and Galactic on Friday, Widespread Panic churned out rousing sets on the first two nights of the festival.

The Georgia band’s fan base clearly spans all ages, judging by the audience of toddlers, teens, 20-, 30- and 40-somethings getting down.If the rumors are well-founded, expect another Colorado concert stop from the band this fall – date and venue to be announced shortly on its website, http://www.widespreadpanic.com.More Labor Day Festival coverage to come in next week’s edition …To contact May to send info, insights or invites, e-mail allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com

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