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Happy Birthday, Louis Armstrong!

August 9, 2021 Destination Feature No Comments
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This past weekend, the 2021 Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron celebrated the life, legacy, and music of New Orleans’ native son, Louis Armstrong, at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Now in its 21st year, the annual festival that quickly grew into a beloved summer tradition delivered two full days of live entertainment after a two-year hiatus from in-person performances. Click here for highlights from the event..

Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron featured over 20 acts that gave moving performances of their original music and renditions of Louis Armstrong’s classics. Fest-goers sang, danced, and swayed all weekend, showing how impactful artists like Armstrong are to the fabric of New Orleans. The Roots of Music sponsored by Fidelity Bank opened the festival on Saturday, July 31 with a street performance alongside the 400 block of Barracks. They were followed by a star-studded day of New Orleans’ legendary performers, including Lawrence Cotton and Wendell Brunious on the GE Stage and Preservation Brass and Charmaine Neville at the Fidelity Bank Stage.

A week ahead of the Mayor of New Orleans instating a city-wide mask mandate for public indoor spaces, FQFI publicly enforced the same policy to provide attendees the safest experience. In addition to masks being required indoors, masking was strongly encouraged outdoors and in crowded areas. The festival also worked within a 75% maximum capacity outdoors and a 50% capacity indoors, added an overflow room and live streaming for The Satchmo Legacy Stage in Honor of Joni Berry, and reduced the number of food vendors to allow for more space for fans to social distance. Throughout the course of the weekend, the small but mighty event was visited by over 4,000 guests.

While weather predictions called for a steamy day with heat indexes of 110-115 degrees on Saturday, a steady overcast provided some relief for festers to enjoy music, food, and friends. Attendees could be heard from far outside the Fidelity Bank Stage as New Orleans Songbird Robin Barnes & The Fiyabirds excited fans, encouraging group participation with chants and whistling. Dr. Brice Miller and his New Orleans JAZZsters crooned the crowd with a stellar performance and the unforgettable voice of Vegas Cola. Wendell Brunious returned to the stage as though he had never left, surprising the audience with special guest, Ricky Riccardi, who took a short break from his presentations on the life of Louis Armstrong indoors to help rock the stage on piano.

Sunday brought a stint of off-and-on again showers that did not seem to faze most attendees who eagerly awaited an opportunity to see and hear from their favorites once again. Without missing a beat the festival continued; Christopher Renshaw gave an insider’s look into the making of ‘What A Wonderful World’ the Musical at The Satchmo Legacy Stage in Honor of Joni Berry and Hot8 Brass Band hyped fans who danced excitedly in and around the tented stage. The voice of Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns captivated the audience before Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers took the stage to close out the festival. Kermit, charmed the “real music-lovers” with his jokes and his music, while his pianist hopped from his seat during his solo.

Other highlights of the weekend included: the Friday VenueApp Launch Party Onboard the Riverboat Louis Armstrong, Sunday’s Jazz Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Treme, featuring the Treme Brass Band and Four new food vendors debuted including Krab Grab, as well as Carmo, 14 Parishes, and Theaudric’s Real Clever Cuisine who offered Gluten-Free and Vegan options. In an effort to be the most sustainable festival producer in the Gulf South, FQFI in partnership with Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Program has committed to ensuring 100% of food and drink products are recyclable, reusable, and compostable.

Festival organizers are grateful for the support of generous sponsors Chevron, WWL-TV, New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint, GE, Fidelity Bank, Omni Royal Orleans, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Times-Picayune| nola.com, Friend of Fest, OffBeat Magazine, Joseph K. and Inez Eichenbaum Foundation, Louisiana Division of the Arts, JAX Brewery Parking Lots and the Berger Company, Brown-Forman, Abita Brewing Company, Pepsi, French Market Corporation, Riverboat Louis Armstrong, VenueApp, Touro, Zapp’s Potato Chips, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, Sal Borelli, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Beacon Outdoors, VolunteerLocal, WWOZ 90.7 FM, WGSO, DownBeat Magazine, WHERE Magazine, Vinyl District, and Clarion Herald.

 

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