But if there's a lesson to be learned from the Jazz Fest, never have to compete with the Nevilles. But then, there's so much else to behold. Look at the crowd in the gospel tent. Most people in that number would probably never experience the music in the churches. Look at the performers. Many groups, we suspect, now exist for the Jazz Fest. Sure they perform before the pews on Sundays, but the Fest is the big show in their lives. Stories have been told of record producers coming to the Fest to scout talent. Recording contracts were signed. The music found a new audience. Jazz Fest put the music on the map. And that’s the gospel. The Gospel Tent, probably more than any other, is the beacon of what's happening in New Orleans, with the community, especially the black community. Because in order to have a gospel tent, you have to have churches, you've to have a people. If music is nourishment for the soul, good food is nourishment for all else. Do not look for hotdogs and burgers at the Fest. When the choruses are performing, the crowds in the gospel tent clap along in rhythm. They may be responding to the music or perhaps to the messages. Either way the tent at that moment is a temple, if not to the spirit within, than to the spirit of the festival. And in the distance, a brass band begins it's march. You should know that the film is a lively presentation of music, cultural history; native color, food and fun. There's no such thing as separation of the culture in New Orleans. It's blended together. In the end, it's the blend that makes the culture. Written by Gregory Mann
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