Friday, more of the eventual 20 stages of indigenous music and over-50 local food booths opened for French Quarter Fest. My favorite festival of the year, it’s also one of the city’s most profitable – generating an economic impact of $190 million in 2019.
We walked past the dance lessons in full swing at the French Market before starting our day near the Aquarium with Valerie Sassyfras of America’s Got Talent fame. Her memorable original, Girl’s Night Out, may not have gotten her past the second week of competition, but it made her a cult celeb.
Miss Sassyfras put on quite a show. Continue reading
With more reasonable crowds and lots of favorite local musicians playing, Jazz Fest’s final Sunday was a balmy-weathered blast. Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows were on the Jazz Fest Heritage Stage and I spotted Alphonse “DooWee” Robair, my favorite Mardi Gras Indian artist, dancing among them. We started the day with a delicious Cochon de Lait ($9) from Love at First Bite and a Nectar Creme from Plum Street Snoballs ($4). When I worried I wasn’t going to get a “local” pour of the sticky, sweet syrup, the woman next to me in line laughed, “If you ordered Nectar Creme, they already know you’re a local.” True Dat. Continue reading
After a one year hiatus, Chaz Fest is back. Named for Washboard Chaz who joins every group, the festival was formed a decade ago when members of The Tin Men (and Alex McMurray’s wife) came up with the backyard festival as a reaction to being rejected by Jazz Fest. Held at the Truck Farm, an artists haven, the 2 stages (one in the yard and one in the woods) rotate so that the music is nonstop – 14 bands in under 10 hours. With its rustic porches, patios, enclaves and hideaways – all festooned with whimsically painted signs – the Truck Farm always reminds me of my childhood at Lemonade Farm, the subject of my novel by the same name. The food feels homegrown and the people are dressed like Dead Heads and flower children. It’s 1976 again with peace in the air. Continue reading
I only went to the 45th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one day this year and I spent most of that time volunteering in a beer booth – but I still managed to see 11 bands. I didn’t even get to half of the grounds, yet I managed to see artwork by Terrance Osborne and Woodrow Nash, check out Mr. Okra’s truck, hit 2 food booths and visit the WWOZ Brass Pass Tent. I arrived about noon with only 2 hours to spare before work so I headed straight for the Acura Stage to catch some of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. They delivered their signature funky rock jazz sound along with guests like keyboardist John Gros debuting his French horn skills. Continue reading
September is Hunger Action Month and what better way to help those in need (1 in 6 households) than to eat, drink and celebrate great local music at Harvest the Music in Lafayette Park! All proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank. This week, New Breed Brass Band opened for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. New Breed is a brand new brass band of young men born and raised in New Orleans who play originals and covers of traditional NOLA favorites. They may be new to performing onstage but they sounded like pros as they got the crowd moving and primed us for Trombone Shorty’s first stop on his Say That to Say This concert tour. Shorty’s latest album dropped last week and has dominated on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart. Continue reading