NOLA Jazz Fest Swaps Eddie Vedder for Jimmy Buffett

Last week, Eddie Vedder announced that he would be forced to postpone his upcoming solo tour because of nerve damage in his right arm. While most of the dates were rescheduled, he had to cancel his appearance at this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

But organizers of the event wasted no time finding a replacement for Vedder, and recently announced Jimmy Buffet will perform an acoustic show in place of the ailing Pearl Jam front man. Buffet will appear at the festival on May 3.

Instead of bringing his Coral Reefer Band, Buffet will only be accompanied by Mac McAnally, who has been named the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year for the past four years. McAnally is also a member of the Coral Reefer Band.

According to Buffet’s official website, the acoustic Jazz Fest performance came about because of another recent New Orleans’ concert. Buffet was appearing with his full band for a free downtown concert series during the recent NCAA Final Four basketball event that was being held in the city. After the band’s set was over, organizers told Buffet he needed to make the show longer.

Instead of bringing the band back onstage, Buffet performed an impromptu acoustic set, and his longtime friend and Jazz fest producer Quint Davis was impressed as he watched the set from the side of the stage.

“Instantly he transformed from a stadium level rock star to a troubadour,” Davis said. “His playing on an acoustic guitar was beautiful. It really struck me. It was special.”

Davis said that he considered other options to replace Vedder, but that he kept coming back to the short acoustic set, and wondered if Buffet would be up for making that an entire show.

“I didn’t have to use much persuasion,” Davis continued. “The case makes itself. And it’s something he wanted to do.”

Buffet first appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 1989, and has become a staple over the years at the event.