The 35th annual French Quarter Fest was rained out Saturday, which is a crying shame. Many of the biggest acts were set for that day including Grammy-winners, Rebirth Brass Band. It was supposed to be a day of having to make hard choices about what to miss, but a massive storm wiped the day away.
Sunday was sunny, windy and super-chilly (50’s). Sarah Quintana’s teeth were chattering and her trumpet player was trying to keep at least one hand warm enough to play. But Sarah Quintana (with her nightingale’s voice) and the Miss River Band managed to put on a beautiful show. Bruce Sunpie Barnes joined the group on accordion as they played to the winter-coat-wearing crowd behind The Mint.
We headed upriver, passing the pitiful 4-man cleaning crew for the recent oil spill. We’re all used to the smell now. I had to have my favorite Fest food one more time – Walker’s Southern Style BBQ’s Cochon de Lait ($9). Then we headed to the Abita Stage for the Bucktown All-Stars. Joyce La Nasa (now 87?) joined on tambourine wearing her signature gloves. The band led a second line through the crowd who loved their mix of local favorites and fun covers.
We had The Rib Room’s Chicken Andouille Gumbo ($7) then headed past the Aquarium to the furthest upriver stage and food booths. The Vettes played as we returned to The Daily Beet for another plate of Mango, Papaya and Melon with Lime Juice and Chili Powder ($6). Then we headed back to the main stage for oldies but goodies from The Dixie Cups.
We got a Curry Shrimp Rundown over Coconut Mango Rice ($8) from The Rum House and stumbled onto Darcy Malone and The Tangle playing the Jack Daniels Stage. From a distance Malone sounded like raspy funk-soul singer Betty Davis, so I was surprised to find the voice coming from a blonde in shorts and a fur shrug. She and her fellow singers have all the energy and showmanship of FQFest-breakout-stars Tank and the Bangas and Malone’s band is great. Every year, there are bands and artists who are destined to grow and expand past our local borders. I pick Darcy Malone and The Tangle for this year.
It all made more sense when the announcer mentioned Darcy is Dave Malone’s daughter. Currently a member of the Raw Oyster Cult supergroup, he’s best known as one of The Radiators – making Darcy another of our city’s amazing musical legacy stories.
There are over 20 stages throughout the French Quarter for the Fest. On Sundays, we try to visit some of the more obscure stages like the jitterbug dance stage, the Zydeco stage, the international stage and the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church classical stage.
We made our way back to The Mint – the furthest downriver stages, and listened to the Red Wolf Brass Band while eating a Crawfish Family Platter ($40) from Rouses Crawfish Boil. As usual, we ended the Fest with the Original Pinettes Brass Band, the world’s first all-female brass band (and winners of the 2014 Red Bull Street Kings).
It was a shame to have missed Saturday, but that’s only because this is easily my favorite festival of the year so it’s only right I’d long for more.