Barring any further complications, Widespread Panic will top off what turned out to be a very different Thursday than what Jazz Fest organizers originally planned. After the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac withdrew as Acura Stage headliners, Panic stepped in. The Georgia-based jam band is no stranger to Jazz Fest; this will be its 11th appearance in 22 years, including headlining this Thursday spot in 2017 and 2015. At 2½ hours, Panic's set is the longest of the entire festival. 

Meanwhile, Tom Jones — he of the unbuttoned shirt and sexy baritone — will close out the Gentilly Stage, returning to the fest for the first time since 2011. The 78-year-old Welsh-born  heartthrob spent years stalking stages in Las Vegas, so his set is peppered with the sort of one-liners that are either funny, groan-inducing or both. His catalog of hits includes "Delilah," "Green, Green Grass of Home," "What's New Pussycat" and, of course, "It's Not Unusual."

Other noteworthy acts: soul-blues-gospel singer Mavis Staples, reggae veteran Ziggy Marley and an all-star local lineup of Cowboy Mouth, Anders Osborne, Samantha Fish and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk ahead of Widespread Panic on the Acura Stage.

-- Keith Spera

Food @ Jazz Fest


Pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo from Prejean's is a flavor direct from Cajun country at Jazz Fest.

Pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo, Food Area 2

Louisiana can always count on gumbo, no matter what life rolls our way. So on a Jazz Fest day that had its scheduling woes, let's start with a dish that never lets us down. This example, deep, dark, loaded with fowl and smoky sausage, gives satisfaction by the spoonful. 

-- Ian McNulty