Jazz Fest 2012 Rumors, Speculation, Wishes and More

Arcade Fire Headlining || May 6, 2011 || Photo by Jimmy Grotting

The Voodoo Experience is now in the rearview mirror, the relentless fall concert schedule is starting to slow down (although one could easily keep themselves busy on the live circuit until New Years Eve) and therefore it might as well be time to start speculating about the 2012 Jazz Fest lineup – after all, the fest is now less than six months away. It’s hard to say who will be at the top of the bill when the lineup is announced but since we’ve got a over a month until the lineup release (or two months if released on last year’s timetable), here’s a handful of artists (however unlikely some may be) who could conceivably be at the Fairgrounds come Spring time. The following is just speculation and we will continue to update this post as more substantive rumors begin to materialize. For now, just enjoy the dream lineup and start the conversation. Feel free to share your thoughts, wish lists and potential rumors in the comments section below.


Radiohead – A year ago at this time I would have scoffed at the mere suggestion and it still seems like a very distant possibility, but after Arcade Fire’s popular headlining appearance in 2011, perhaps Thom & Co. will be band #1 when the names come out. Also, the band announced their first U.S. Tour in four years today, hitting most big cities in the South with the exception of Nashville (holding out for Bonnaroo?) and New Orleans (holding out for Jazz Fest?). One can dream.

The Meters – Could the original lineup return to Jazz Fest once again? After seeing both their mini-set at Bonnaroo (before being joined by Dr. John) and the resounding success of their recent Voodoo outing there’s little question as to whether the local progenitors of funk can still bring it.

Paul Simon – Headlined the Hangout in May 2011, played the UNO Lakefront Arena last Friday and appeared with Simon & Garfunkel in 2010, so why not return in 2012 with the Graceland band?

Big Country Headliner – Tim McGraw, George Strait, Alabama, Kenny Chesney or Alan Jackson…?

Phish – Times have changed in the 15 years since Phish last appeared at the Fairgrounds. The fans have gotten older, taken on mortgages and a lot of the shadiness that marked the Phish scene in the 90s has subsided considerably. Also, the 3.0 version of the band has been more receptive to playing at multi-band festivals than in the past and since returning at Hampton Coliseum in March of 2009, Phish has headlined Outside Lands in 2011, ACL in 2010 and hit Bonnaroo for two nights in 2009. Perhaps the wounds have healed up and Jazz Fest is ready to give the Phish from Vermont another try. A monster day set of Phish sans Kuroda would be a sight to see, that’s for sure.

The Raconteurs – Would make a great Thursday headliner and have not appeared at Jazz Fest since 2008. After headlining Voodoo this past weekend, it may be a long shot to double dip, but it seems like Jack White and Brendan Benson’s blues rock force is back up and swinging.

Dave Matthews Band – Have not performed at Jazz Fest since 2009 and last year’s limited touring schedule kept them out of festivals besides their own roving Caravan tour. DMB seems like a solid bet.

Fleet Foxes – Another good Thursday headliner to pique the interest of some people that probably wouldn’t otherwise make the trip. Currently a tour of Japan and Australia in January is all that is listed on the band’s web site. They might be just outside of Jazz Fest’s general booking aims, but after The Strokes last year it seems like most things are fair game.

The Eagles – A decent chance of this happening since the band is launching their 40th Anniversary tour in 2012. On a personal note, I’d rather see Joe Walsh or James Gang.

Adele – I’m guessing now that she’s about to enter the realm of arena headlining superstardom in 2012 that a number of festivals will be on the singer’s docket.

Elton John – Wouldn’t that be something?

Neil Diamond – Don’t torch Neil. Already has a major tour on the books in support of yet another Greatest Hits album for Summer 2012 with no New Orleans stop.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – New album and U.S. tour in Spring/Summer 2012.

Stevie Wonder – Has not appeared at Jazz Fest since 2008 and headlined Bonnaroo in 2010 and ACL in 2011.

Neil Young – Came to the rescue in 2009 when Aretha Franklin had to drop off the lineup, perhaps we’ll get lucky and he’ll be included from the get-go.

The Black Keys – They did Voodoo in ’09, played HoB NOLA in fall 2010, Hangout last Spring and in the natural order of things, should be at Jazz Fest in 2012 in support of their critically-raved about new release El Camino. Also, the band is setting out on a Winter/Spring arena tour in Spring 2012, so expect them to once again light up the American festival circuit like they did in 2012. Totally cool with that.

More Non-Local hopes, wishes, ideas:

Charles Bradley
Tom Waits
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi
The New Mastersounds
Caitlin Rose
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Eddie Vedder Solo
Mavis Staples
Elvis Costello
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Robyn Hitchcock

Felice Brothers
Black Uhuru
Gary Clark Jr.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band Special Guests and Friends (in light of this, why not?)
Dolly Parton
Bon Iver
Los Amigos Invisibles
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros / Alexander (Whichever is touring)
Wanda Jackson
Pat Metheny
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Red Baraat (despite playing in 2011)

Trey Anastasio Band (if not Phish perhaps)
M. Ward or She & Him
Tallest Man On Earth
Jeff Mangum
Gillian Welch
The String Cheese Incident
Florence and the Machine (touring in support of new album)
Steve Earle (son Justin Townes Earle played last year)
Feist (new record just released)
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones (Original Lineup)
John Hiatt
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Grupo Fantasma
Balkan Beat Box
Buddy Guy
Taj Mahal

Drive-By Truckers

(new album out in March 2012)

Jonny Corndawg
Alabama Shakes (<-- Seriously check this out, click link, listen to EP) Bobby Rush Confirmation:
James Cotton (Source)
– Dianne Reeves (Source)
– The Iguanas (JamBase)
– There will be a Gospel Tent (and really that’s all that matters)
– Not at Jazz Fest but…Peelander-Z is booked at One Eyed Jacks on April 26, 2012, in case you are looking for a bizarro show to kick off your Jazz Fest 2012.

If you got any other ideas, wishes, or rumors to share, we’d love to hear them in the comments section.

Charles Bradley – Why Is It So Hard

November 8, 2011 |  by  |  Festivals, Jazz Fest
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

  • TheSpring

    Alabama Shakes

  • bennyboy

    FURTHUR?  Best band out there, still.  How cool would that be to see?

    Carolyn Wonderland!  Yeah, gret new album and the time is right.

    • West Leigh

      Furthur – would love to see that. 

  • funkkjunkie

    I’d love to see John Butler Trio, Angelique Kidjo, Olu Dara, Southern Culture on the Skids, JJGrey and Mofro, and Hamilton Loomis. Oh, and some Marleys.

  • funkkjunkie

    I’d love to see John Butler Trio, Angelique Kidjo, Olu Dara, Southern Culture on the Skids, JJGrey and Mofro, and Hamilton Loomis. Oh, and some Marleys.

  • Rycoll71

    Drive By Truckers, North Mississippi Allastars, Allman Brothers, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal

  • https://qbapolska.wordpress.com Qbapolska


  • A_bonura9


    • West Leigh

      God I wish, don’t see that happening at JF. More likely a Hangout or Voodoo act. 

  • Pisspouch

    What about WSP?
    SUX because Dave really likes the food there. 

  • Anonymous

    Phish!  The first of my 50+ Phish shows was the ’96 Jazz Fest, and I haven’t been back to NOLA since.  Make it happen!  

    And you’re absolutely right about the Phish crowd having mellowed considerably.  There are more lawyers and doctors at shows these days than there are drugged-out hippies. 

  • js

    it’s been 5 years since BRUCE!!!

    • ‘Ders

      Yeah, with the new record, definitely a good possibility

  • logan

    add Portugal. The Man and Band of Horses to that list!

  • Pingback: Jazz Fest 2012 Lineup To Be Released Next Week — LMB NOLA

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