New Orleans – A line of heavy thunderstorms forced the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to close early on Sunday at around 11:45 a.m. The rain subsided around 12:15 p.m.
Another downpour moving through the New Orleans area turned the Fair Grounds Race Track into swimming pools for geese and forced several of the last day’s acts to end their sets early.
According to a festival spokesman, Matthew Goldman, other performances got more luck and were not affected by heavy rain. Organizers had allowed people who came Saturday use that same ticket on Sunday.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for New Orleans and Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and Lafourche parishes until 12:15 p.m. The line of storms includes torrential rains, 60 mph winds, car-damaging hail and frequent lightning, warned the reports.
After the heavy rain stopped and a light drizzle fell on the Fair Grounds, the Jazz Fest recommended festival-goers to keep tabs on its Twitter account so they can keep up with the ongoing weather conditions.
Despite the bad weather, some shows continued
On Sunday morning as heavy rains fell, space in front of the Acura Stage, where Charmaine Neville was supposed to play, was almost empty. In the other side, the Blues Tent, where Brother Tyrone & the Mindbenders were performing, was completely full with folks seeking shelter from the storm. By 12:15 p.m., from the Kids Tent, music was still playing wafting across the Fair Grounds.
As the rain died down, Fest workers rushed back out to Gentilly and Acura stages to uncover equipment and begin setting up for the next shows.
On Saturday, the Jazz Fest was forced to shut down early as well, before Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Beck and the Lone Bellows, and some others, could perform. However, after 4:40 p.m. shut down announcement, shows continued in some tend. Kermit Ruffins remained onstage at Economy Hall until officials advised him that he had to stop due to the weather condition. Stevie Wonder popped up at the Irvin Mayfield’s Playhouse for a surprise show later that night, while Snoop Dog kept a previously scheduled DJ gig at the Carver Theatre. The Lone Bellows played a short show at the Aces Hotel and then were the surprise guests at Preservation Hall’s Midnight Preserves.