Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s August birthday, Satchmo SummerFest is often the sweatiest festival of the year, but rain cooled the day. The rain also left the grassy yard of the U.S. Mint a muddy mess. But much of the fest is tented and Friday was a great kickoff to the fest with food and beverage booths, non-stop live music on multiple stages and symposiums on Armstrong and related topics. We stopped by The Preservation Brass entertaining a crowd then started our day with a Soft-shell Crab Poboy served on Dong Phong Bread with Pink Sauce from Ajun Cajun and a Royal House Chopped Salad with Fried Oysters.
We took in a few songs by the soulful Stephanie Jordon then took a break from the rain before returning for Blue Runner Red Beans and Rice with Sausage, the festival’s best bargain at $4. A favorite we discovered on the last day of last year’s fest, we made sure to get a plate of Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Rice and Veggies from Palmer’s Cuisine. We finished with a half-and-half Nectar Creme with Cream Ice Cream Snoball from Plum Street Snoballs.
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns have a edgy, vintage sound that also expresses itself the band’s look. Lake’s haunting voice held the crowd in rapt attention.
Ecirb Müller’s Twisted Dixie is based in the mythology of an imaginary Renaissance man created and embellished by the band and it’s leader, Dr. Brice Miller. To hear them tell it, Müller invented everything from jazz to NASA and is clearly the most interesting man in the world. Müller may be imaginary, but the aspirational pep he puts in the band’s step is real.
Before the closing bands, we had a burger and Hand-Cut and Twice Fried fries from The Company Burger. We hit Hot 8 Brass Band on the Red Beans Stage first. As I was dancing to Let Me Do My Thing (one of my favorites), I spotted birthday-boy DancingMan504 celebrating and pinned with money. At 50, he’s still fleet-of-feet with jumps higher than the NBA’s best.
James Andrews and the Crescent City All-Stars finished our night with local standards like Ooh Poo Pah Doo and covers like Michael Jackson and Prince’s Purple Rain – complete with incredible guitar solos. The crowd second lined through the mud several times, waving napkins and pumping umbrellas. Andrews always puts on a good show. His SummerFest-closer last year was one of the best fest shows I’ve seen.
Satchmo SummerFest adds another stage indoors for Saturday and Sunday. Between that, the indoor symposiums and the well-tented stages outdoors, the fest promises another 2 days of food and fun – rain or shine.