NEW ORLEANS -- Van the Man and The Queen of Soul are headlining next year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Joining Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin will be Pearl Jam, making its inaugural appearance at the fest, as well as Lionel Richie and actor Steve Martin, who plays banjo in his bluegrass outfit the Steep Canyon Rangers. Darius Rucker, former Hootie and the Blowfish front man-turned-country award-winning singer, is also set to appear.
"It's just a way-cool thing that Jazz Fest is so broad that it can embrace all these different things, all these different artists," the festival's producer, Quint Davis, said.
Marking its 41st year, the festival is scheduled for the weekends of April 23-25 and April 29-May 2.
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Though dotted with major national acts, the festival is made up of more than 80 percent Louisiana artists such as The Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Pete Fountain, Dr. John, rapper Juvenile, Trombone Shorty and Buckwheat Zydeco.
Other first-time artists include My Morning Jacket, Anita Baker, Gipsy Kings, The Dead Weather, The Levon Helm Band, Drake and Johnny Lang. Returning acts include the Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, The Black Crowes and B.B. King.