Archiving Jazz Fest: A Conversation with Rachel Lyons, Archivist, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Archive (Video)



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  • - Hello, everyone.
  • I'm Melissa A. Weber,
  • Curator of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz,
  • a unit of Tulane University Special Collections,
  • or TUSC for short.
  • - [Rachel chuckles] - [Melissa] And I'd like to welcome you
  • to our session, Archiving Jazz Fest, hosted by TUSC,
  • and featuring Rachel Lyons,
  • Archivist with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Archive.
  • Today's event is presented as the closing event for the TUSC exhibition.
  • It's titled, "Music is the Scene": Jazz Fest's
  • First Decade, 1970 to 1979, which features materials primarily
  • from TUSC collections, most of which have not been widely seen or heard.
  • The exhibition has been on view in the TUSC Gallery since March 4th
  • and will close in the gallery tomorrow at 4 p.m..
  • However, the digital exhibition will remain on view past tomorrow
  • as part of Tulane online exhibits.
  • If you haven't seen it yet, we invite you to view it online
  • at exhibits.tulane.edu, and I'm going to post
  • those links in the chat.
  • Our event today is dedicated to hearing directly from Rachel,
  • who I'd like to thank for her gracious assistance
  • through my curating the TUSC exhibition.
  • And like you, I'm looking forward to hearing about her important work
  • as archivist for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation since July, 2000.
  • She has grown the archive from a collection of a few dozen boxes
  • in an un-renovated building into a vibrant research facility
  • with numerous collections and extensive offsite storage facilities.
  • In addition to maintaining and managing the collections,
  • she has made presentations and curated exhibitions about New Orleans culture
  • and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
  • For Jazz Fest's 50th anniversary,
  • Rachel played a key role as compiler,
  • writer, and producer in the creation
  • of the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Box Set,
  • Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic cancelation, she partnered with New Orleans community
  • radio station WWOZ FM to produce three Jazz Festing in Place programs.
  • These 64 hour programs featured Jazz Fest recordings
  • exclusively from the Jazz and Heritage Archive, and reached listeners
  • in 195 countries and territories worldwide.
  • Rachel is going to share a presentation, and after that we'll be able
  • to have conversation with a few questions from me and also from you.
  • Please feel free to share your questions for Rachel about her work,
  • or Archiving Jazz Fest, in the Q&A section at the bottom of the screen.
  • And now I'm thrilled to pass the mike to you, Rachel.
  • - Oh, well, thank you so much, Melissa...
  • and I really appreciate this opportunity to talk with you
  • and to hear what some other folks have to say
  • and ask about, you know, the work that we do archiving.
  • [chuckles]
  • And I'm just going to share my screen...
  • Okay.
  • I'm just going to start because I know many of you
  • all are already familiar with the festival, but I'm going to give
  • a little precursor about the festival and about the New Orleans
  • Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which is who I report to.
  • And then a little bit more in-depth about the archive, but I want to make sure
  • that everybody starts on the same page in terms of the origins of the festival.
  • So the festival was started by George Wein in 1970.
  • That was the first year.
  • And at that time he met Quint Davis and Allison Miner, who were both
  • working in the Hogan Jazz Archive.
  • Allison was actually employed there, and Quint was a student worker.
  • And they initially met because they had apartments near each other on Frenchmen,
  • so they were across balconies from each other.
  • So prior to the actual festival, they actually had met.
  • So, they were brought on as the young people that can do some work
  • for little or no money, because of course this was a new operation.
  • The picture at the top is George
  • with his wife, Joyce, and then the woman in white is
  • Sister Gertrude Morgan, whose a very famous folk artist.
  • And she-- actually it's her artwork that is the cover
  • of the very first program book.
  • And...
  • Okay, there we go. [chuckles]
  • So a lot of this information
  • I achieve from doing those exhibits that I've done.
  • So at the top is actually an architectural drawing of the 1972 festival,
  • which is the first year at the Fairgrounds.
  • And I really love these two aspects together...
  • because they really show
  • how the footprint of the festival and how it continues to grow.
  • Curtis and Davis, that's Quint's father's
  • architectural firm, who came in and helped.
  • And there are other drawings like this that are actually up at HNOC,
  • the Historic New Orleans Collection in the [inaudible].
  • So the festival was always incorporated as a nonprofit.
  • It was always the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
  • And a lot of the early energy of the festival...
  • that took up most of the time and attention.
  • In the mid to late '70s like '76, '77, '78 is when they started
  • to be some proceeds from the festival going into the foundation.
  • And it was at that point that the board of directors
  • started to develop philanthropic work.
  • So our community grants program started at that time.
  • It still exists now.
  • We give out over a million dollars a year in grants to the community.
  • But one of the other things they did was to buy the first part of this
  • very long series of buildings that we now own on Rampart Street.
  • To the left of the 1205 door is the Liberty Bar.
  • So it's kind of apropos, but you would go in that middle door,
  • which doesn't exist anymore, and you'd be on the back side of the bar
  • and then you'd go upstairs to the offices.
  • So this is the foundation today.
  • That corner spot that was the Liberty Bar is our main entrance.
  • There's a small gallery in there where we do hold community events.
  • And then you can see there's two other townhouses that
  • go down the block from there that are also our offices.
  • And then the white building beyond that is the George Wein
  • Jazz and Heritage Center.
  • So George Wein...
  • gave us a lot of his support throughout the years,
  • and the building is named after him and in his honor.
  • This is a 10,000 square foot building that we opened in 2015.
  • It is a completely free music school in the historic front of the building,
  • there's a room with every instrumentation in there.
  • There's a room of pianos, there's a room full of drums,
  • there's a room full of bass, and there's a room for vocals.
  • So, we've--
  • it was a $10 million renovation to do that.
  • And then we have a small performance venue in the back,
  • which holds about 200 people.
  • So, we use the building a lot, and then we also--
  • there's a lot of community events that also happen in the building.
  • And the nice thing about having this building is we have a lot of parking now
  • in the back, especially like when we're having the kids dropped off and picked up.
  • It works out very well.
  • So the foundation is organized in terms of assets and programs.
  • The archive is an asset, WWOZ is an asset,
  • the Heritage School of Music is an asset, and also Jazz Fest.
  • So we're the core activities that--
  • I guess the way to describe it is we are the ones that have the things.
  • So beyond office programing,
  • we're the ones that have all this physical material,
  • whether for me for collections, and OZ will have soundboards
  • and other technology, and of course recording trucks
  • that are at Jazz Fest.
  • We run programs under economic development.
  • One of the first things we did when the pandemic hit was
  • we gave out a million dollars in funding across the state to musicians,
  • and then we gave out another million dollars of our own money.
  • And we also partnered with Spotify, they helped us raise money.
  • Michael Murphy helped us raise some money.
  • So we do look for key partnerships.
  • And most recently, Music Rising partnered with us
  • and they ran a guitar auction and raised $1.4 million.
  • And that's all money that came to us for the financial partners at work.
  • One of the other things we do,
  • and these are all the upcoming dates for our community,
  • what we call the community festivals.
  • They're all free. We do have people asking
  • So if you can give, we appreciate y'all giving
  • and certainly coming out and attending.
  • So, we've merged the Creole Gumbo and Congo Square Rhythms
  • into one festival this year.
  • But other than that we just keep them,
  • keep them rolling and keep them out there.
  • This also is in some ways economic development
  • because we do see this as providing work and jobs to not just musicians,
  • but also the food vendors, and the stage workers, and people like that.
  • Now we're going to move on to the archive.
  • So Allison Miner, who was the festival founder,
  • was alsothe founder of this archive.
  • She started it in spirit
  • from her work at the Hogan.
  • So the core of the collection is the recordings from the Music Heritage Stage.
  • That's a picture of Allison
  • on the very first stage in 1988,
  • and then it was started to be recorded in '89.
  • So we have just shy of a thousand interviews at that point.
  • Allison did pass away in 1995, so she's no longer with us.
  • She was in her forties, so she was quite young when she passed.
  • So this is the archive.
  • The building was donated to the foundation by Ian Hardcastle.
  • It was the old [inaudible] hardware building for any of you old school
  • New Orleanians out there.
  • The space is quite small. We're a thousand square feet.
  • You can see our shelving. We're really at capacity.
  • We have three different configurations of shelving.
  • But the good news is, is that there's always offsite storage.
  • So this is what the building looked like when I got here.
  • You can see the boxes were everywhere.
  • It was sort of crumbling in another state [chuckles],
  • but it was literally...
  • get a folding table and buy a computer.
  • So, that's what I had to do.
  • Now these are some of our offsite storage areas.
  • The two at the top are in town,
  • and we do-- you can see we have large decor items with the signage,
  • some furniture from furniture makers,
  • business records-- we have a lot of that.
  • The picture at the bottom is all of the early
  • OZ reels that were here when I got here, 1300 reel-to-reel tapes.
  • Those are stored in Tennessee, but we had to pull them back
  • because we ended up getting money to digitize them after Katrina.
  • So, that's Dolores and she's five feet tall.
  • So that'll give you an idea what 1300 reel-to-reel tapes look like.
  • This is the Michael Murphy collection.
  • All these materials are in Los Angeles.
  • They...
  • it's a diversity of media.
  • He filmed Jazz Fest from 1989 to 2009.
  • So about half of this collection is Jazz Fest
  • and the other half of it is other-- more music related materials.
  • But it's all very relevant in terms of our mission.
  • So we're extraordinarily fortunate to have this collection.
  • You've heard a lot of it if you've listened to Jazz Festing in Place
  • or if you have the Smithsonian boxset.
  • So here is our Smithsonian boxset from 2019.
  • This was an amazing project.
  • We did it in under a year when it normally would have taken
  • like a year and a half.
  • So I'd never done anything like this before.
  • But you just buckle up and you put your head down and you go.
  • Dave Ankers with OZ is also a producer on this.
  • His help was amazing.
  • Carrie Booher, who runs the OZ social media,
  • she helped me a lot with the...
  • photo research, which was an enormous help because I had my fingers
  • in all these other little pots there but then also all of my regular work, too.
  • But I'm very proud and it got to number three
  • on the Billboard jazz charts.
  • So, we mentioned the Jazz Festing in Place so that has all...
  • happened, you know, you can see those.
  • But also recently we created this documentary
  • with Michael Murphy and WYES, which is our local public
  • television station.
  • And we just got news two days ago that it won a Silver Telly Award,
  • so we're very excited.
  • It is on a national PBS distribution,
  • so 270 stations picked it up across the country.
  • So we're super excited about having that.
  • And then, of course,
  • now, if y'all don't know, there's a big movie coming out about Jazz Fest.
  • It's Kennedy Marshall are the producers, and...
  • that's a big two hour movie.
  • They filmed the 2019 Festival in IMAX.
  • So there is a ton of amazing footage.
  • So I'd say it's more...
  • more of a performance space of the festival,
  • but it also has probably about 25% historical information in it.
  • And so I worked very closely with the producers
  • in identifying assets that are here, but also in other archives in the city.
  • So, I worked very closely with them to get this movie out the door
  • and produce, which I was very pleased and excited
  • to help them.
  • So that is the end of my...
  • talk. [chuckles]
  • - Okay, thank you so much for that presentation and...
  • we're now going to get into a little conversation and then Q&A.
  • And I'd like to remind everyone that if you have a question for Rachel
  • about her work, please type it into the Q&A section
  • at the bottom of the screen and we've got quite some time.
  • I will start with a few questions for you, Rachel.
  • So...
  • I'm not sure if you heard about this or not, probably so.
  • I just saw a tweet last night that this past Tuesday
  • the U.S. Senate agreed by unanimous consent on a resolution
  • that honors the 1970 Jazz Fest,
  • and you gave a little bit of insight
  • into the origins of the festival, but I was wondering if you could share
  • a little more detail on how the festival started?
  • - So, I will say
  • I am-- I mean, we're very fortunate.
  • We did an interview with this gentleman-- I do a series of institutional oral
  • histories as well, so we'll interview past presidents of the board and,
  • you know, longtime stage managers, or people who work at the festival.
  • So pretty much anybody who's core
  • to the festival and to the Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
  • So one of the people that we ended up interviewing was Earl Duffy,
  • and he was the very first board president of the foundation
  • and it was fascinating because he was from Boston.
  • He was big with the Hotel Motel Association.
  • He was the one who got the call from the local chapter
  • here in the mid '60s saying...
  • We'd like to start a festival down here.
  • And they were looking for some help
  • with financial money, but also other support.
  • Now, Earl is from Boston
  • and he used to go to George Wein's club, Storyville.
  • That was in Boston for many years.
  • George was born and raised in Boston, I don't know if y'all know that.
  • So anyway, so we did an extensive interview with him.
  • And what I found is people that have very short periods of time, they...
  • they remember things.
  • So he was our board president in '70 and '71
  • and he really gave
  • a very colorful detailed description of what it was like
  • to come down here from some place north and run the Royal Sonesta Hotel,
  • but also about, you know,
  • it really starting in that he had almost like the pre-work with them.
  • And what he found when he got here in '70
  • and he was asked by Lester Kabacoff, Pres Kabacoff's father,
  • who owned the Dauphine Orleans, to come in and be the board president.
  • And he did and he found this sort of wild
  • group of guys, you know, that were still living in
  • kind of a Mad Men lifestyle as his board members.
  • These are people that he was inheriting from the '69 festival,
  • which is not our festival because it was not incorporated as the foundation.
  • So it was basically him and Darrell Black,
  • the one very useful guy on that board that really pushed
  • and made the festival happen in '70 along with George.
  • So... yeah, so it was a very interesting time and just--
  • it was the good ol' boy network, you know,
  • and a little bit of Mad Men thrown in there from everything he described.
  • He was a lovely man. He was such a loving--
  • he came down for the ribbon cutting
  • and he and George got to talk and see each other.
  • It was touching, these two 95 year old guys.
  • - [both chuckle]
  • - I'm going to ask an archives related question.
  • You know, you were speaking about the amazing Smithsonian box set
  • and you had to work on that project in addition to your regular work.
  • For the average person who doesn't know what the regular work
  • of archives involves, describe what that is.
  • - [Rachel] Right.
  • So...
  • we're so small here.
  • I mean, you know, other archives are small,
  • but they're in libraries.
  • You know, so there's some other institutional memory.
  • You know, in the foundation here we have 13 full-time employees.
  • We do not have internal IT.
  • We've gone full-blown forward. We're starting a digital archive.
  • So a lot of my work is-- I'm handling a lot,
  • especially now with requests to use the materials.
  • So I do a lot of administrative stuff and then I periodically dip into collections.
  • Delores, who used to work with us full-time,
  • she still works with us part-time.
  • And then we hired Joe to start the digital archive.
  • So we have that.
  • I've been so sad without our volunteers because we've had--
  • for as long as I've been here we've had this fabulous group of--
  • you know, they've varied over the years, but they come in every week.
  • They come in for 4 hours and we give them real projects
  • to do that help us with the collection.
  • Like, nobody's picking up my dry cleaning.
  • You know, nobody's making photocopies, but we do give them
  • actual work of archiving, and that's very important.
  • So whether it's-- could be something digitally based
  • or it could be something that's a physical collection.
  • We break up parts of it to get it moving forward.
  • - [Melissa] Okay. - So yeah, so we haven't instituted
  • our volunteer program back quite yet, but I'm looking
  • forward to getting that done either during the summer or in the fall.
  • - [Melissa] Okay.
  • And what are the types of materials that your archive includes and
  • what are items that are the most popular that are requested for access?
  • - Well, audio and video is a big one.
  • 'Cause everybody's making a documentary.
  • Very few-- well, I guess, no.
  • I would say video and photography are probably bigger.
  • Audio is not so much.
  • And I think it's because-- especially with the internet
  • and everything, social media, everything is so visually based,
  • that the audio isn't quite as attractive.
  • So our scope of collecting is the history of the foundation.
  • So it's pretty much anything foundation or festival related.
  • We do dip a little bit into the '69, '68 festival,
  • but there are other archives in town that have stuff for that.
  • So if something happens to come in our door,
  • you know, from those festivals we'll keep it.
  • But for the most part we're not actively collecting those materials.
  • But I do say I have the history of the beer koozie
  • because I have some very early prototypes
  • of, like, a hard styrofoam,
  • you know, with the ring, and it has our logo on it.
  • But we also have a lot of artwork.
  • So the Helis Foundation gave us...
  • I think about $150,000
  • to buy artwork for the Wein Center.
  • So...
  • yeah, so we have everything,
  • even our beer koozies are insured under our fine art policy.
  • But we keep track of all of the materials, whether they're in one of our
  • storage units or whether they're hanging on a wall at the main office.
  • That falls under our purview. [chuckles]
  • - And then also there are
  • the digital collections, which I love, because anyone,
  • wherever they may be on their computer can access various collections.
  • Tell us about the digital component of your archives.
  • - Okay, so that's also--
  • that's really in transition at this point.
  • We do have an online catalog.
  • Only some of the things on there can actually be viewed.
  • So basically it's the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage from 2012-forward.
  • And of course, all of this is dealing with copyright law,
  • making sure we have the right to do it.
  • But also,
  • we have to be respectful because it's not just our relationship
  • with the music community and the arts community in town,
  • but also OZ's relationship with those folks in the festival.
  • So there's very little that you can actually-- well I say
  • very little but 2012, you know, 40 interviews a year.
  • There's actually quite a few videos you could watch in our online catalog.
  • And then we're in the process of setting up a DAM
  • for all of our born digital photography, which I manage nine photographers...
  • every year at Jazz Fest.
  • There's nine each weekend that photograph for the archive.
  • So, they're photographing stages.
  • They're photographing the food, the people, the culture,
  • what the festival actually looks like, like the landscape of it.
  • So anyway, yeah.
  • And then a lot of what we have
  • is not even necessarily in our catalog at this point.
  • Like all of the Michael Murphy films and audio,
  • but that is something that we are accessing and having people use
  • for their work, you know, because we're not going to stop
  • just because, you know, it's not in our catalog.
  • We're pretty aggressive and very focused on the user
  • and trying to make things as available as possible.
  • - [Melissa] Okay, yeah.
  • - So call me, call me or email me is the answer if you have a question.
  • - [chuckles] Aren't the posters now online?
  • I mean, not the posters, the programs.
  • - Oh, yes. So we did scan and OCR
  • all of the program books, and those are in our online catalog.
  • They're downloadable. They can be completely searched.
  • So if you know that your father,
  • your grandfather or whatever worked-- because even the staff is in there.
  • So you could find staff names if you just did a nice last name search.
  • So that's been really sweet.
  • Yeah, and that's a very easy way of doing it.
  • You can just download 'em.
  • So we're very happy about that, getting resources to the people.
  • - [Melissa] Awesome.
  • I have just one more question and then I'm gonna shift
  • to some of the questions that have been popping up in the Q&A box.
  • So...
  • as I understand and know,
  • no archival repository can represent all stories if materials are not there.
  • For instance, while I was curating the TUSC exhibition,
  • you shared info with me about the 1978 KOINDU effort
  • and I realized that we didn't have materials at TUSC to represent that story.
  • So thank you for giving us permission to display
  • KOINDU photos from your archive
  • that are included in the in-person version of the exhibition.
  • So my question is two parts:
  • One, can you share the story of KOINDU with our audience?
  • 'Cause it's a fascinating one that I didn't know.
  • And two, are there materials that are missing in the
  • Jazz and Heritage Archive that you wish you had or could find?
  • - So there's one thing I forgot from the previous question
  • I'm just gonna plug, which is also from the archive website.
  • There is the Jazz Fest Database, which is a very simple utility,
  • and it is based on the program books.
  • So, that's a caveat that...
  • if there was a last minute cancelation,
  • we may not have known it from 1986 or something.
  • But it is completely searchable of everybody
  • who's ever performed at Jazz Fest.
  • We put in the canceled Jazz Fests too,
  • so just to make sure that we were gonna have a complete record.
  • So the canceled Jazz Fests are in there.
  • There's about 25,000 records in the Jazz Fest Database
  • that is open for anybody to search.
  • I actually use it quite a bit, like on my phone, I'll just run into it.
  • So with KOINDU...
  • we did curate an exhibit.
  • We have a couple of collaborators, some cultural anthropologists
  • that have studied Jazz Fest, and their names are
  • Helen Regis, she's at LSU, and Shana Walton, she's at Nicholls State.
  • And...
  • they were really the lead people in curating that exhibit
  • and doing some oral histories around it.
  • So it came out of--
  • in the mid '70s there was sort of a crackdown going on.
  • A lot of the street vendors on Canal Street, who are predominantly
  • African-American, and the city was cracking down on them...
  • and sort of hassling them and not really liking,
  • you know, sort of how it was beginning to look like a street fair
  • and not so much like a main shopping corridor like you would have thought,
  • you know, a decade before.
  • And with that interaction
  • the African-American Jazz Fest Coalition came up as well.
  • So they...
  • were putting pressure on the foundation to really start,
  • like-- the impression was, of course, that we had a ton of money.
  • But the reality was we started
  • growing and having some money, you know, because we bought a building.
  • There was that sort of effort.
  • So they were very firm about the fact that they wanted
  • more participation in the festival.
  • And there was a big call.
  • They were threatening to boycott.
  • And what happened at that point and--
  • Kalamu ya Salaam was one of the leads
  • with this group, along with [inaudible] and a handful of other people.
  • So they basically--
  • and George Wein actually writes about this in his New Orleans chapter in his book
  • about going to the Saint Bernard Project and having a meeting with them.
  • But basically what came out of it was KOINDU...
  • was started, and it was like a festival inside of a festival.
  • And-- but they worked directly,
  • you know, because it had to be facilitated into the Fairgrounds.
  • So there had to be some kind of overlap
  • in administration, but it was solely run by the
  • African-American Jazz Fest Coalition or KOINDU group.
  • Those...
  • that organization fell apart...
  • and it was primarily due
  • because there was a difference on how it was going to be administered.
  • So it's kind of interesting when I was doing research on it,
  • because in the board meeting minutes, it was like, well,
  • we don't know what's happening.
  • But at this point, eight years later, they still had an imprint there.
  • So, what happened was, they were in court,
  • the two aspects that were suing each other.
  • And then...
  • Tom Dent, who was our director at the time,
  • noted writer from New Orleans, he was our executive director, and Kalamu ya Salaam.
  • They both ran the Congo Square Writer's Circle.
  • And they renamed the KOINDU area,
  • Congo Square, and it became more integrated
  • into the festival itself at that point which was 1988.
  • So... - [Melissa] Thank you.
  • And also are there materials that you wish you had or could find?
  • - From KOINDU?
  • - Oh, just related to Jazz Fest.
  • I remember you asked about the logo.
  • That could be-- the original logo prototype.
  • - Oh, okay.
  • Well, I mean, a lot of that I found in my--
  • I found out in my research along the way.
  • I still learn things though, every day.
  • I mean, I just always have to tip into something that I learned.
  • It's...
  • you know, there was that big article for Jazz Festing in Place when I...
  • talked about finding the Wolfgang's materials,
  • the recordings from the 1970 Jazz Fest.
  • So that was something I knew existed,
  • that I didn't know where or how to get to it, you know.
  • And that was something that I had thought about and looked out for, for...
  • you know, 20 years.
  • I'd go to archives conferences and there'd be other radio archivists
  • there and I'd say, Oh, do you have any Pacifica Radio,
  • do you have any Radio Free Europe or, you know--
  • so, there are things that I know-- Oh, you know what, Melissa?
  • I have something up on my board right there.
  • And it was a letter of somebody-- we were talking about it.
  • It was something that mentions
  • a recording and I was talking to you about it.
  • I can't remember what it was, but that was like three years ago.
  • - [both chuckle]
  • - [Rachel] So there's always things that are piloting around.
  • But I don't have a Holy Grail at this point.
  • - The nature of archives work. So now-- Oh, yes?
  • - I just want to say one thing.
  • The sister collections, what I call my sister collections, you know,
  • the Historic New Orleans Collection, which is, you know, that's that
  • Michael P. Smith photo behind me.
  • You all have always been so gracious when I've been doing my exhibits
  • and going in and letting me look through Dick Allen's papers, you know,
  • those are just so-- I mean, I was talking to the guy at Arhoolie during Jazz Fest
  • and I mentioned some of what I learned in Dick Allen's papers.
  • So doing the research and finding out more about what is around us
  • has been so helpful and it has really-- the support of everybody else
  • in the State Museum have really helped this archive
  • to get some really firm roots and to grow.
  • So I can't thank everybody enough in our archival community in New Orleans.
  • - Awesome, awesome.
  • Okay, there's a lot of questions that we have about 20 minutes.
  • So let's start with a question from James,
  • who was wondering if you could talk a bit about the difference
  • between archival handling of recordings and materials,
  • for example, digitizing old reel-to-reel tapes or films
  • versus non-archival amateur type practices
  • and some of the difficulties working with old tapes.
  • - So because we're such a small archive, we don't actually do that kind of work.
  • We would-- we send that work out to experienced vendors
  • to do that digitization.
  • So, I can answer just enough to be dangerous, so I won't.
  • [chuckles] But he can if he wants...
  • can drop Joe, our digital archivist, an email.
  • It's jstolarick@jazzandheritage.org and
  • I'm sending you his way because Joe has done
  • archival digitization.
  • He worked for George Blood for many years.
  • He's also... audio engineer
  • and has worked for OZ for many years running one of the trucks at Jazz Fest.
  • But he's also a Master's in Library Science.
  • He was basically designed by God for us.
  • - [both chuckle]
  • - [Rachel] But Joe could probably help with that
  • question better than I will.
  • - Okay, next question.
  • "What is your favorite item in the collection?"
  • - [chuckles]
  • [Rachel] So...
  • I'll just talk about a general category.
  • So, we collect the unofficial stuff.
  • So...
  • I love it when you see, like, community participation
  • in Jazz Fest or in the foundation.
  • So, for example,
  • one year at the Krewe du Vieux parade,
  • they parodied jazz fest and it was some scathing-- you know,
  • they really do satire at the Krewe du Vieux parade.
  • So collecting all of that material was very exciting for me.
  • I've seen...
  • people scattering ashes at Jazz Fest.
  • They were passing around a water bottle and shaking something.
  • I was like, what is that?
  • And then I realized that they were doing a funeral at the festival
  • so I took out my phone and started taking pictures.
  • I went over, contacted the people, we interviewed them
  • and found out who this gentleman was that died and how important it was.
  • So I think that it's [inaudible] people make this festival
  • and we really encourage and I enjoy that.
  • That sort of participation in the collection.
  • - Okay, the next question is, "Do you all offer PDs to educators?"
  • I'm sorry for the person who asks this, T.J., I don't know what PDs are.
  • So if you want to type that in the chat and let us know.
  • Professional development! Okay, to educators.
  • - Call me. We can talk about it.
  • Nobody's asked me that question yet. So let's see if we can figure that out.
  • Is that good? [chuckles]
  • - [chuckles] There are a few questions
  • and you've touched on various aspects of them already.
  • I'm going to go down and just in case...
  • to see if you want to touch on some more aspects.
  • So Margaret asks, "Does the archive contain historical Jazz Fest posters?
  • I have a signed copy of the [inaudible] Jazz Fest poster."
  • - A signed copy of what year?
  • - The 1976.
  • - Oh, yes we do collect and I would love to see your poster.
  • [chuckles]
  • I'm pretty sure we already have that one.
  • We have a couple of gaps in our poster collection
  • but it's not '76.
  • - Also, "How does one gain access to the archives documents?
  • Is there a website and what can I do on the website."
  • And I just posted a link to the Jazz and Heritage website in the chat.
  • - Yeah, it's always best if you take a look at our...
  • online catalog and what we have up.
  • And then from there just give us a call or drop me an email and
  • that's sort of when we-- because we're so small here
  • and we only have a maximum capacity of like four people
  • that can be here and currently there's three of us here.
  • So, yeah, just give me a call and we'll see if we can--
  • if we have materials that are of value for what it is you're working on.
  • - Okay, and a question about volunteering.
  • "Do you all need volunteers to assist with the archive?
  • How do you apply?" [chuckles]
  • - So there's no real application,
  • but I usually start with an email and if you can either send me a resume
  • or if your interest in archiving is opposite of your professional life,
  • just tell me what your general interest is.
  • We try to give people projects that they're gonna like [chuckles]
  • and not ones that they're gonna be bored with.
  • So we do interview and we try to make sure that we have the right match
  • before we just take volunteers in.
  • But like I said, we also haven't quite started up yet
  • with volunteers since Covid.
  • But, I can't say enough how much work, like--
  • that Jazz Fest database, that was 90% volunteers
  • that built that for us and we are forever grateful.
  • For people that can do that kind of data entry, it's just lovely.
  • And it turns into this beautiful product.
  • - Frank asks, "What projects are on the docket?"
  • - [chuckles]
  • Because we've had so much demand
  • since 2019 for use of the collection in documentaries.
  • So my big project this summer is going to be...
  • looking at setting up, like, a strong administrative system.
  • It's not very exciting, but it's that.
  • Joe's big project this summer
  • is getting our DAM up and running for all of our photography.
  • So it's going to be born digital, but then we're also hoping
  • to put in, like, digital contact sheets from some of our older photography
  • into the DAM so that it's more easily accessible and researchable.
  • So, those are our two big projects currently.
  • Dolores is here.
  • You know, we buy artwork at Jazz Fest, so...
  • she's here working on physical collections that have come in
  • because we have some new artwork and some other materials.
  • George Wein's estate has sent us
  • some materials from his house that he had related to New Orleans.
  • So that was really lovely.
  • But yeah, no, our-- and then potentially we're gonna--
  • we have two big collections on the horizon.
  • So I'm getting ready for those to come in as well.
  • But yeah, no, we always have something that can be done.
  • And as archivists know, there is basic processing
  • and then there's more detailed processing.
  • So, it's always a matter of nibbling away and making things more accessible.
  • - Awesome. What kind of paper records do you have at the archive?
  • - [Rachel] Oh, good golly.
  • So...
  • a lot of our paper records are more administrative.
  • So, it would be, you know, in terms of, like,
  • the Heritage School of Music and trying to recreate a lot of that.
  • That's actually probably a pretty big gap in our collection
  • because that was like a program that was at SUNO
  • and it wasn't...
  • it was always a prize of the foundation.
  • They did not...
  • take very good care of getting those records here.
  • So when SUNO flooded in Katrina,
  • you know, most of that documentation is gone.
  • It was just flooded.
  • But we are-- we do do annual
  • collecting from inside the foundation and then also over with OZ.
  • So we have a lot of administrative papers here in the archive
  • that help us to recreate our own history and then also pamphlets
  • and fliers, things like that that are more what we would call ephemera.
  • And then, of course, digital, you know,
  • because David Freedman, the previous Director of the--
  • General Manager of OZ, you know, he came and gave us three laptops.
  • So, [chuckles] you know, then we're processing
  • those materials so that the "papers" go digital too.
  • - We have a few more minutes for more questions
  • if you could type them in the Q&A section at the bottom of your screen.
  • There is one from Jay,
  • who says, "Can you say more about how money raised from Jazz Fest ticket
  • "sales fund the many community programs that benefit musicians and music workers
  • and fund the Heritage School of Music?" - [Rachel] Sure.
  • So...
  • the founders of the festival, which is basically George Wein.
  • His company was Festival Productions Incorporated.
  • And at a certain point I believe in 1998, Festival Productions New Orleans
  • was established as Quint's company.
  • So, from the very beginning the foundation has contracted with
  • FPI to produce the festival.
  • So there's always been a contractual relationship
  • between the two organizations.
  • One of the other things that I learned was,
  • in some oral histories, was that was pretty much
  • what FPI was doing because, you know, they did the Newport festivals in the '50s.
  • So, they would always either partner
  • with a local nonprofit or create a nonprofit to...
  • basically bring their festivals into being.
  • So, we were one of the ones where we were created as a nonprofit.
  • So anyway, so we contract with festival productions.
  • There is a festival budget. It is a part of the foundation.
  • It's overseen by our board of directors.
  • So...
  • then when the revenues come in,
  • that's when the money comes into the foundation at the end of each festival.
  • And so we get,
  • I don't know how many millions of dollars, a few million dollars a year.
  • All of our 990s are online...
  • so, through GuideStar, if you guys want to see what
  • foundation financials are.
  • But we take that money and then reinvest it into the community
  • with the whole diversity of our programs.
  • And you can see all of our programs online too.
  • We just did a big redo of our website and it's awesome.
  • - Ann posted a question for you in the chat. She says,
  • "Question from left field. Has anyone from HowAhYa!
  • ever consulted the archives to help design the Jazz Fest shirts?"
  • - No. So the HowAhYa! shirts are developed by Buddy Brimberg,
  • who is also the person who makes the posters.
  • It's Art4Now...
  • and I'm blanking out on her name, but she's a silk painter
  • and she usually has a booth of her own original work at the festival.
  • So he primarily has been working with her
  • consistently for probably the last 15 or 20 years.
  • And it's those two who come up with what the design is going to be.
  • And it's approved through the festival too, all of that.
  • Anything that comes out gets approved through the festival
  • because it's, you know, official merchandise.
  • - And Ron has a question and would like to know if you have a
  • Fest highlight or peak experience at Fest.
  • I'm assuming that doesn't necessarily have to involve archival work. [chuckles]
  • - Okay, so, I'll give two.
  • One, I would have to say I think it was 2008.
  • Richie Havens in the Blues Tent.
  • I literally thought the tent lifted up, like six inches, on his final
  • version of "Freedom."
  • It was truly one of the most stunning things I'd ever seen.
  • And then one of my favorite little parts--
  • so, you know, this year the festival did a great job.
  • They're really doing sustainability and they're really working to integrate
  • and make that a department within the festival, which is...
  • fabulous and I love it.
  • But way back when,
  • we used to partner with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,
  • and they would be out there
  • sort of picking up the bottles and cans and taking them.
  • But of course, you know, you get a bunch of 12 year old kids and
  • tell them to walk around and pick up cans, so maybe not the most effective.
  • But there were other points in festival history
  • where we have been looking at doing recycling.
  • Anyway, so my birthday is during Jazz Fest, it's April 26th.
  • And...
  • it was in the morning
  • and there was like nobody out there yet, so before the gates opened.
  • And I still had like two dollars starter on my pinned self,
  • and these four Boy Scouts started just belting from
  • 30 feet away, Happy Birthday [chuckles] to me.
  • And that was just so sweet.
  • And they committed and they sang the whole song.
  • So I was just like walking across the Fairgrounds
  • to go from one spot to the other, I don't know, I was,
  • you know, working, so I was going to go and do something.
  • And then I stopped and got serenaded by these four little Boy Scouts.
  • It was just darling. [chuckles]
  • Those are my two little favorite, I think...
  • you know, and it talks about the spirit of the people there too, both of them,
  • you know, in terms of the crowd and the audience and, you know...
  • and they were my performance, my Boy Scouts.
  • - [both chuckle]
  • - There aren't any more questions in the Q&A box so I will ask one final question
  • because we are just about to reach time for today.
  • What is...
  • what is your favorite part of your job at work
  • and what is your favorite thing about archives?
  • Why are your archives important?
  • - So, my favorite part about this job-- and I'll just say this,
  • which is I don't have a Master's Degree in Library Science.
  • I have a Master's Degree in Arts Administration.
  • I thought I was going to be
  • a curator and not an archivist, but this is where I am.
  • But now I curate an archive, right?
  • So...
  • my favorite part about this
  • job is that it's been positively boot straps.
  • You know, you saw those pictures-- [sirens outside]
  • you know, we're in the French Quarter, so there are...
  • I don't know if you can hear it, but there are policemen outside.
  • [chuckles]
  • So I love the fact that everything I've done,
  • I've had to figure out myself, like I never stop learning.
  • I mean, I can't get bored here
  • 'cause as I've often said, I don't need another piece of paper
  • to come in the archive and I can stay busy for another ten years.
  • But there's always a chance to learn something new
  • and do something new and it tests my mettle.
  • And I think it makes me...
  • better informed about the profession of archiving,
  • and then also about...
  • the collection itself.
  • So I love the fact that I never--
  • like, this whole thing that I have to do this summer.
  • It sounds really boring, setting up a licensing administrative system,
  • but it's another system that has to operate inside this system of archiving.
  • So it all has to work together and relate.
  • [Rachel] And then what was the other half? You had another--
  • - [Melissa] Oh gosh, why is
  • the Jazz and Heritage Archive important in your words?
  • - Oh... [chuckles]
  • the Jazz and Heritage Foundation Archive is important because it is...
  • almost like this super salient...
  • version of what Louisiana is.
  • We play our collecting pretty tight, but the foundation and the festival,
  • meaning FPI, they've done such a great job
  • creating an authentic experience
  • about Louisiana, including-- you know, we have a folk life [inaudible] out there.
  • And, you know, the materials that we collect from that, like,
  • the material culture of Louisiana is documented here as well.
  • And, you know, it's just--
  • that's why the festival is important, I think.
  • And they've talked about this archive, you know, this was years ago,
  • maybe going to a university.
  • But if it had, it would have stopped
  • because it would have been a smaller part of something much bigger.
  • But with me here and us having a building
  • and a very dedicated lens on putting these materials together...
  • for the future is huge.
  • You know, that's why this archive is important.
  • - Perfect. Thank you so much, Rachel, for your participation today
  • and all your work over the years and to come.
  • And I would also like to encourage each of you to keep in touch
  • with both our repositories.
  • I just posted in the chat links to TUSC and to the Jazz and Heritage Archive.
  • And you can always reach Rachel
  • or me in our respective archives with all of your questions.
  • Thanks so much for joining us today, and I hope you have a great rest of your day.
  • Bye-bye, everybody.
  • - Bye. Thank y'all.