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New Orleans Jazz Fest weekends line up choice shows

Tom Uhlenbrock
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The lineup for the 2007 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is out, which causes a wonderful problem for those planning to spend a weekend at the planet's premier music event.

Jazz Fest is spread over two weekends, April 27-29 and May 4-6, so, unless you're going for both weekends, you have to choose one.

Do you go the first weekend, and catch Dr. John, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Norah Jones, Brad Paisley, Jill Scott, Irma Thomas, Ludacris, Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Lucinda Williams, Rebirth Brass Band, Richie Havens, Johnny Rivers, George Thorogood & the Destroyers and a host of others?

Or do you go the second weekend and see Harry Connick Jr., Steely Dan, ZZ Top, John Legend, Allen Toussaint, Counting Crows, George Benson, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Allman Brothers Band, Better than Ezra, Joss Stone, Stephen Marley featuring Jr. Gong, Cowboy Mouth, The Radiators and so on and so on?

And then, once you get there each day, which stage do you head to with 10 going simultaneously?

Decisions, decisions.

For a full listing of the more than 500 groups appearing over the two weekends, go to www.nojazzfest.com.

The festival's two posters this year, always a hot collectible, will feature Jerry Lee Lewis, the venerable rock `n' roll rebel from Ferriday, La., and Philip Frazier, leader and tuba player of the Rebirth Brass Band.

Whichever weekend you choose, you'd better get moving on a place to stay. Go to the "travel" section on the Web site and it has a list of hotels offering Jazz Fest rates.

The festival is held on the Fair Grounds Race Course, a short cab ride from the French Quarter. Besides music, there are more than 100 varieties of authentic Louisiana cuisine offered by food vendors, and a juried craft fair. People line up on opening day to get first crack at the one-of-a-kind items.

Advance adult tickets are $35 a day, $45 after April 26. Children 2-11 are $5 in advance or at the gate. Tickets can be purchased online through www.nojazzfest.com and www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-488-5252.

Bring me back a Jerry Lee poster and a softshell crab po'boy.

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