- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Latest on opening day at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Pop star Janelle Monae hit the Congo Square stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival amid blaring guitars, pounding drums and screams from a crowd that grew even louder when she declared her intention to pay homage to Prince.

Monae launched into music she co-wrote with Prince, her former mentor, whose death a day earlier was on the minds of artists and fans alike on Friday’s opening day of Jazz Fest.

Earlier, rocker Grace Potter included Prince songs in her Jazz Fest set, telling fans: “Don’t party for yourselves. Party for Prince.”


2:45 p.m.

Impromptu tributes to Prince punctuated the opening day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Strains of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” wafted over the crowd from one stage Friday morning. On another, local favorite Wanda Rouzan noted the pop music icon’s Thursday death, and that of New Orleans writer, performer and record producer Allen Toussaint, who died in November.

Later, on still another stage, Cowboy Mouth lead singer Fred Leblanc, mentioned the passing before launching into the band’s popular “l Believe,” a song about the power of love and rock ‘n’ roll.

The Southern Rock band Gov’t Mule, one of Friday evening’s closing acts, tweeted praise for Prince on Thursday and was expected to pay homage during its performance on the festival’s Gentilly stage.


11:30 a.m.

Jubilation infusing opening day of the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is tempered for some by sadness over the death of pop music icon Prince.

As thousands streamed onto the festival site Friday, Prince was on the mind of Duane Pitre (PEE’-tree) of New Orleans. Pitre said he grew up hearing Prince’s music: He said his mother had it on in the house all the time. Lauren Cecil, also of New Orleans, said she was in denial about it when she first heard the news Thursday,

The festival agenda was planned well ahead of Friday’s opening and no tribute to Prince was on the agenda. But Pitre expected impromptu tributes from among scores of acts set to play on nearly a dozen stages throughout the day.


8 a.m.

“Beautiful chaos” - that’s how one restaurant manager describes the scene in and around the site of the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The first of two festival weekends opens Friday, with Steely Dan among the scores of acts taking their turns throughout the day on nearly a dozen stages.

There’s also a variety of food - local and ethnic cuisines at booths on the festival site and at restaurants catering to the crowds.

The festival is mostly an outdoor affair, spread out over the infield of what is usually a horse racing venue, the Fair Grounds Race Course.

One opening day concern: Friday’s weather forecast includes the possibility of scattered showers.

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