Allison Miner helped found the Fest and always put musicians first

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In the annals of Jazz Fest history, few have made such a lasting impact, and unless you were a part of the New Orleans music scene in the 1970's and 80's, you may never have heard the name Allison Miner.

She, along with George Wein and Quint Davis are credited with building our New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival from the ground up.

Allison came to New Orleans from Florida, and from the time she arrived she was all in on our music scene.

At her tribute service, photographer Michael P. Smith recalled, "Allison followed our music from it's most profound roots, and she understood how the culture worked.  She knew where the music was and where it came from.

Allison is credited with beginning the Jazz and Heritage Archive, and also founded the Music Heritage Stage, as a means of producing up close and personal performances from a wide range of artists, but also as a way of getting the story behind our music through the interviews and oral histories of the musicians.

In the tribute film Reverence, Allison said, "I want a little more reverence for what we're doing, and I want to hear what these people have to say about themselves and give them a chance to feel important like they're worth something.  We're not just slapping them up on the stage and slapping them off."

Her contribution to the Jazz Fest is unquestioned, but she didn't stop there.  In fact Allison was immersed in making sure the musicians were fairly compensated for their art.
"She went on to work with the ReBirth Brass Band in their early years, she managed Professor Longhair in his last years, so she was all about this culture. She moved here from Florida, but she has a place in the history of the festival. That Allison Miner Stage was something that she actually started, and would host herself," says Jazz Fest co-founder Quint Davis.

We lost the visionary Allison Miner in 1995 to cancer, but her spirit and contributions live on every year at The Fairgrounds, and she's truly a Giant of the Fest.



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