Anyone who has spent a summer in New Orleans knows the bittersweet pleasures this city has to offer: mingling scents of jasmine and garbage, grueling humidity turned afternoon thunderstorms, and a sudden revival of termites and palmetto bugs mark June, July, and August in the Crescent City. But despite the rising temperatures, New Orleanians party-on through three months of the most fantastic festivals of the year. From Essence, to Oyster Fest, to Bayou Boogaloo, you can't turn a corner without coming across a festival in NOLA.
You've heard his music, you've felt his passion, and you are surrounded by his lasting legacy, but have you been to Satchmo SummerFest? You can't talk about the city of New Orleans without mentioning our all-time jazz mogul and Zulu king, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. The imprints he left behind through his music and spirit have played a major role in shaping both the jazz genre, and New Orleans as a whole. So what better way to celebrate Satchmo and jazz than in the city where they were born?
The 2019 Satchmo SummerFest (presented by Chevron) will march on for three days straight from August 2 to 4 at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint. Daily admission is just $6 per guest to enjoy a full day of Armstrong tribute music, mouthwatering food and drink, intellectually stimulating lectures, and family-oriented activities around the museum grounds. The admission fee includes a wristband that permits guests to come and go as they please throughout the day.
The 19th annual Satchmo SummerFest music lineup exceeds all expectations. Popular local groups will perform simultaneously on two outdoor stages-all celebrating the unique sounds of Satchmo. On Friday, expect to see distinguished jazz bands like the Preservation Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, and Cyril Neville's Swap Funk. Saturday's headliners include the Big 6 Brass Band, the Treme Brass Band, and Robin Barnes and the Fiyabirds. Finally, rounding out Sunday's lineup is Ellis Marsalis, Jeremy Davenport, and Leroy Jones and New Orleans' Finest. The bands dually pay tribute to Armstrong and his music whilst showcasing their own distinct styles and songs. Hear everything from jazz and zydeco to country and blues at this three-day celebration. Other performers include Michael Ward, Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet, Dinosaurchestra, the Doyle Cooper Jazz Band, the Palmetto Bug Stompers, the Nayo Jones Experience, and more.
Food will be available for purchase from a variety of veteran NOLA restaurants. For a stellar shrimp remoulade or crumbly crawfish pie, stop by local Cajun food stands like Cafe' Dauphine, Gulf Tacos, Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant, and the Rusty Pelican. Or stick to the basics and enjoy a juicy sandwich from Company Burger or Big Cheezy. Wash it all down in the adjacent Abita beer garden. Still hungry for dessert? Quintin's Ice Cream and Plum Street Snoballs will be around to help satisfy your sweet tooth. Visit satchmosummerfest.org/food for Satchmo SummerFest's full culinary lineup.
On the third floor of the Mint, the Hilton Satchmo Legacy Stage will be set up and utilized for interactive music conversations between Armstrong scholars, jazz performers, and a vibrant audience. John Swenson, Bruce Raeburn, Sally Young, and Ricky Riccardi are just a handful of the Satchmo scholars that will grace the stage over the course of the festival. Each will take turns presenting their research and facilitating fascinating exchanges between Armstrong scholars and supporters alike.
In addition to music, food, and lectures, fun-filled activities for guests of all ages will be available in and around the museum. Pops' Playhouse for Kids (powered by Entergy) will be open on Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. inside
Finally, on Sunday, August 4 at 11a.m., Satchmo SummerFest's legendary Jazz Mass will commence. Sponsored by Rhodes Funeral Home at St. Augustine Catholic Church, the Jazz Mass and subsequent "Satchmo Salute" second line parade have always been the perfect way to wave goodbye to SummerFest for another year. After the mass, the parade picks up outside of St. Augustine Church. Everyone makes their way to Armstrong Park before continuing the second line down to Esplanade to join the rest of the festival. The specific schedule of activities is still TBD, so continue to check satchmosummerfest.org/home/special-events to stay in the know.
To really get into the spirit of Satchmo SummerFest, purchase tickets for the Kickoff Party at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. The Kickoff Party takes place one day before the beginning of the festival, Thursday, August 1st, and will last from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Each year, three musicians are recognized at the Kickoff Party for their continued devotion to and celebration of Louis Armstrong. Jackie Harris, Corey Henry, and Ricky Riccardi are the three gracious winners of the Spirit of Satchmo award this year. Tickets are priced at $65 for one and $110 for two and guarantee an evening of fantastic music, served dinner, open bar, and conversations that will last a lifetime. The dress for this event is cocktail attire.
The 2019 Kickoff Party will feature music by Ellis Marsalis and special guest Ashlin Parker. The two foster a wonderful relationship and have performed together at various venues over the past few years. Mr. Parker is a jazz trumpeter and multiple-time winner of the Spirit of Satchmo award. Additionally, he just finished teaching a History of Jazz course as a visiting professor at Tulane University. I can say, from firsthand experience, that this evening will be nothing short of unforgettable, whether it comes from the duo's unforgettable playing or their lighthearted interactions on stage. The Kickoff Party is presented by French Quarter Festival, Inc., the organization that makes Satchmo SummerFest happen, so please show your support!
Nearly twenty years ago, for Armstrong's 100th birthday, Satchmo SummerFest was organized as an accolade to his perpetual legacy left behind in New Orleans. The creators of Satchmo SummerFest had never imagined, or intended, for their Armstrong tribute to grow into the festival that exists today. The festival was such a big hit that the city couldn't stand to let it pass by. Since that day, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's life and music have been honorably celebrated every summer in New Orleans.
For more information about the festival, visit the Satchmo SummerFest website or contact any of the SummerFest staff at satchmosummerfest.org/contact/