JAZZ FEST LIVE FROM YOUR COUCH
Savannah Buffett watches her dad perform.
STORY BY W. H. BOURNE • PHOTOS COURTESY OF AXS TV
of New Orleans. Like the music it honors, Jazz Fest is free-form and full of surprises—you never know who is going to join the featured artists on stage for a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Our round-theclock coverage ensures viewers can feel like they are actually in New Orleans experiencing the festival’s sights and sounds from the comforts of their couch.” This year, the coverage kicked off each day with an exclusive half-hour pre-festival special, “Countdown to Jazz Fest.” Kristen Aldridge served as the host; Jimmy Buffett’s daughter, Savannah, served as co-host. They provided indepth artist interviews, information on the festival and highlights of the nightlife outside of the Fairgrounds. Broadcasting Jazz Fest includes licensing and arrangements including work with AEG. In fact, AEG partners with AXS TV on many of their music programs. “Each festival is a little different but AEG hires their guys to shoot the festival for the coverage that appears on the large screens by the stage at Jazz Fest, and AXS is taking their footage from that,” explained Haiman. “We take the feed from the truck and build our show off of that. The main stage is shot in 4K by Red Epics. The 4K images are much better—even the down convert to 1080 is much better. Everything is
t’s been two years since AXS TV re-branded from Hdnet changing their focus to live television. Music became an integral component for the channel. The 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was a major success for AXS TV, with over five million households tuning in to the broadcast. The network delivered over 30 hours of live Jazz Fest coverage, giving viewers the best seat in the house for the groundbreaking event. The 2014 festival continued in that tradition this year featuring live coverage from Thursday, May 1 through Sunday, May 4. This was an historic undertaking for both the network and the Festival as it was the first four-day live music broadcast in television history.
“As the home for music festivals on TV, we are thrilled to be the official broadcaster of Jazz Fest for the second consecutive year. To be able to bring Jazz Fest’s unbelievable musical performances into the homes of our 42 million TV household audience is truly an honor and exceptional experience,” said Mark Cuban, AXS TV founder. “Jazz Fest has become part of our tent pole programming,” said Evan Haiman, AXS TV’s vice president of music production and programming. “We have a focus now on live entertainment that includes music as well as comedy,” said Cindy Ronzoni at AXS TV. “We’ve always had an interest in music, but now we are focusing on music festivals.” “Jazz Fest is more than a festival; it’s a cultural celebration,” said Haiman.“We have carefully constructed content that reflects this, putting a focus not just on the music, but on the elements that are vital to the spirit 58 LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE
ISSUE THREE 2014