2014 CRESCENT CITY BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL
New Orleans Louisiana
The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival run by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation is about to start. Scott Aiges, Director of Programs, Marketing & Communications with the Foundation was kind enough to answer a few questions from me about the festival.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation runs both the Jazz and Heritage Festival and Crescent City Blues BBQ. I’ve been to Jazz Fest a few times, what’s the difference in the Foundation’s vision for the two events?
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. We were set up in 1970 to be the owner of that festival. We’re a nonprofit whose mission is to promote and preserve the musical culture of Louisiana. We are active all year long with programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. Jazz Fest is essentially our annual fundraiser. The proceeds from Jazz Fest account for about 90 percent of our budget. But we don’t produce Jazz Fest. That is handled on our behalf by a separate company, Festival Productions, Inc., in partnership with AEG Live.
The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is one of four free festivals that are produced by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation. We started all four of these festivals after Katrina as a way to create new employment opportunities and to help bring our musicians home after the flood.
Crescent City Blues BBQ is in its ninth year I believe. How did it start and has it always been much the same location and stage format?
Yes, this is the 9th year. The Foundation has a long history of producing and presenting free festivals throughout the year. Before Hurricane Katrina, these were fairly small events that focused on different neighborhoods in New Orleans. They were meant to bring a little bit of Jazz Fest to different parts of the city. After Katrina, we changed their focus. Rather than being about neighborhoods, they became about different components of our culture – the different musical genres that contribute to Louisiana music. We wanted to make them much larger – multiple days, multiple stages, many more performers. The initial goal was to create new employment opportunities for our local musicians and to help bring them home after the flood. After that, the goal shifted to creating excellent showcases for our world-class local talent. Eventually, as the events expanded and started to include national talent, the goal became to support the local cultural economy by bringing lots of new visitors to town.
The Blues & BBQ Festival has always been in the same location, and with the same two-stage format.
The festival is free, which is a great gift to New Orleans’ residents and visitors. Where does the funding come from to put on such a significant event?
The festival – like all four of the free festivals that we produce each year – is paid for by the Foundation. These are “Jazz Fest dollars at work.” The money we earn from Jazz Fest goes toward these events, the free concerts we do, and also our educational and economic development programs (see: www.jazzandheritage.org). We make a small amount of money from concessions (food, beverage, merchandise), but the Foundation covers about 90 percent of the costs.
How do you select the performing artists each year?
We have a committee that makes recommendations.
It will be my first time at Crescent City. What can I expect?
Glorious weather, lots of great music and food.
Los Lobos, Bobby Rush, Ana Popovic, Denise LaSalle, Valerie June, Joe Louis Walker, Mel Waiters, Selwyn Birchwood, Papa Mali, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Little Freddie King, Vasti Jackson, Mia Borders, Luke Winslow King, Marc Stone, Brother Tyrone & the Mind Benders, Leo “Bud” Welch and King James & the Special Men will be the performers at the ninth annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival.
This free event takes place October 17 to 19 2014, in New Orleans’ Lafayette Square Park. It’s produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Here are the performance times and stages:
Friday, Oct. 17
5:30 pm to 6:45 pm Little Freddie King
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Ana Popovic
Saturday, Oct. 18
St. Charles Ave Stage:
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm King James & the Special Men
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Papa Mali
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Los Lobos
Camp Street Stage:
11:00 am to 12:00 pm Marc Stone
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm Leo “Bud” Welch
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm Selwyn Birchwood Band
5:45 pm to 7:00 pm Joe Louis Walker
Sunday, Oct. 19
St. Charles Ave. Stage
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Brother Tyrone & The Mind Benders
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Vasti Jackson
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm Denise LaSalle
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Bobby Rush
Camp Street Stage:
11:00 am to 12:00 pm Luke Winslow King
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm Mia Borders
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm Valerie June
5:45 pm to 7:00 pm Mel Waiters