Nothing can take the joy out of a Jazz Fest and spin it into a muddy mess quite like severe thunderstorms. In April or May it's always a crap shoot as to whether or not the weather will prove to be overly kind and mild or excessively stern and challenging. A rapid moving thunderstorm with heavy downbursts of wind and rain can take a pleasant day and suddenly make it a horrid experience. True musiclovers will allow little to deter them from their enjoyment of the performances, but for those of us used to creature comforts like dryness and the ability to move about unfettered by mud and slop, it's a real challenge. Yesterday's mid-afternoon downbursts did their best to bring down the spirits of the huge crowd gathered at the historic Fair Grounds. But try as the rain did, the sun reappeared for a bit and the party went on. The ground was soaked so quickly that water gathered in pools adjacent to walkways and near the entrances of the tents erected to protect the smaller crowds gathered to hear gospel, contemporary jazz and traditional jazz. Like Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" suggests flip flops were blown out in record numbers following the storm as they became mired in the muck stirred up by rain and refuse from the crowds. When the Radiators and the Neville Brothers finished up their sets at 7:00 p.m. (the Radiators ended a tad early), the crowd was largely smiling and happy. It was, after all, Jazz Fest and it could have been the best one so far.