Celebrating Louis Armstrong’s birthday, Satchmo Summerfest kicked off with a sometimes rainy Friday lineup of live music on multiple stages and food. Tents offered shade from the sun and shelter from the showers. Inside the air conditioned Old U.S. Mint, people enjoyed symposiums on Armstrong and related topics.
The day started with The Roots of Music parading down Esplanade. Providing instruments, education, tutoring, meals and a ride home, the non-profit program serves hundreds of at-risk youths (8-14 years old). Wearing their frilly bonnets and frocks, Baby Dolls joined the children.
The Preservation Brass played while we ate a Catfish Poboy with Pink Sauce ($8) from Ajun Cajun and the culinary highlight of the day, a Mediterranean Stuffed Avocado ($6) from Roux Carre. “An incubator or emerging chefs,” Roux Carre provides opportunity and education to prepare chefs for running their own restaurant – and great food! We washed it all down with a refreshing Abita Watermelon Lemon Shandy.
It rained off and on through a full day of music with pretty full crowds considering it was a weekday in August. Supper was Jamaican Chicken with double Steamed Vegetables ($7) from Palmer’s Cuisine and crispy Tator Tots ($5) from The Company Burger.
The evening ended with great bands on both stages at the same time, Bonerama and Soul Rebels. Bonerama played original favorites like Mr. Okra and a few signature rock covers like Radiohead’s Paranoid Android.
On the other side of the Mint, the Soul Rebels brass band played originals and local fare as the crowd danced themselves silly. Both bands featured children playing instruments. I always love seeing the next generation developing their skills and stage presence. It seems even more appropriate at a festival celebrating a man who’s inspired generations of musicians and music lovers. I look forward to 2 more days of celebrating Satchmo!