NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Billy Joel, Maroon 5, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac and Hall & Oates are among the acts headlining this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The outdoor spring music festival spans seven days over two weekends in such genres as jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, Cajun and zydeco. In all, hundreds of acts will perform on about a dozen stages on April 26-28 and May 2-5.
Other national acts include Earth Wind & Fire, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Jill Scott, Widespread Panic and B.B. King.
The Neville Brothers, for years the traditional closing act of the festival, will also perform, but not together. Aaron Neville is performing with his quintet on the final Sunday. His brothers Art, Charles and Cyril are performing without him as The Nevilles on April 28.
"Aaron will close the Gentilly Stage that last Sunday. He's got a new album coming out and is flexing his solo muscles," festival producer Quint Davis said Thursday.
As for the act that will close the festival's largest stage? Davis said Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews has been tapped for that privilege.
"When the fest originated more than 40 years ago, people came to discover acts they'd never heard. Now these acts are as much a draw for festgoers as the national acts," he said.
Other closing acts on May 5 will be the Black Keys and Hall & Oates, both first-timers to the festival. Also making their Jazz Fest debuts are Fleetwood Mac and Maroon 5 — the rock band fronted by "The Voice" judge Adam Levine.
"Maroon 5 jumped at the invitation," Davis said. "Hall and Oates contacted us last year, but it was too late. We told them we'd keep them in mind this year. Every act is a different case. It just takes some luck and a lot of work.
"Booking of talent is something of an art. One advantage, however, is the fest itself. Jazz Fest is something all the musicians know they want to play. Those who've been here before have talked about it and those who haven't played here have heard the talk. People want to do the fest."
Most of the lineup is from Louisiana and includes festival favorites Irma Thomas, jazz singer-pianist Allen Toussaint and Andrews.
"The talent this state boasts is unbelievable," Davis said. "Sonny Landruth, Donald Harrison. Kermit Ruffins. Terence Blanchard. Do you know how good these people are? Where else would you have this many bands, this many artists of this level?"
Jazz Fest, which is sponsored by Shell and produced by Davis's Festival Productions Inc. and AEG Live, will be held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds racetrack.
Associated Press writer Chevel Johnson contributed to this report.
Jazz Fest: http://www.nojazzfest.com