Courtesy of Zack Smith

Satchmo SummerFest

00:00 July 27, 2014
By: Kimmie Tubre
Secondline 3, photo credit Zack Smith
[Courtesy of Zack Smith]

It's been said that the best thing about New Orleans is its charm and the fun-loving magnetic nature of the locals. Others may agree that the food and lenient liquor laws are a plus; and of course the music - well, it speaks for itself. But, the best thing about the city is when we find a way to incorporate all of these great aspects into one big party or festival. Let's be honest, no one does a festival quite like the city of New Orleans. As summer is coming to a close in the next few months, locals are unwilling to pack away those festival chairs just yet, and for good reason.

Annually on the first weekend in August, festival goers put those chairs to use at the Satchmo SummerFest sponsored by French Quarter Festival, Inc. The three day musical event is a community festival that also features note-worthy seminars along with some of the finest local cuisine located in booths along what is known as "Red Bean Alley," and are open throughout the festival weekend.

Held on the grounds of the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint, Satchmo SummerFest features free, local music with a focus on contemporary and traditional jazz and brass bands.

Properly titled "Satchmo SummerFest," the festival is a weekend dedicated to the life, legacy and music of the late great jazz legend and native, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.

There's certainly no reason to wonder why such a large event is dedicated to the legacy of Louis Armstrong. The jazz innovator was born in New Orleans on August 4, 1901 and became an instant music sensation during the earlier decades of the 20th century. Armstrong, known by his nickname Satchmo, was an inventive trumpeter with a charismatic and dynamic stage presence and a one of a kind raspy singing voice. Satchmo gracefully transcended the music of his era into the jazz genre that is heard today.

His influence on music culture as a whole extends far beyond the genre of jazz alone. His music has inspired parts of almost every genre including; rhythm and blues, rock and roll, hip-hop and even pop and country. Armstrong's success as a musician, innovator, actor and activist was beyond enough to make the city that birthed him proud. In 2001, on the centennial anniversary of his birth, a celebration like none other was held in his honor. That celebration now known as the Satchmo SummerFest was so successful that it has continued to run annually for the past 13 years.

Presented by Chevron, Satchmo SummerFest is embarking on its 14th year. The fest has gathered a star studded line up of phenomenal local musicians and talented artists. Held on August 1 — 3, the festival will house two stages including the Red Beans & Ricely Yours Stage and the Cornet Chop Suey Stage. Together, both stages will feature over 40 contemporary and traditional jazz musicians and brass bands.

Expect to see an anticipated performance from critically acclaimed trombonist, composer, conductor and arranger Wycliffe Gordon. There will also be talented musical performances from Joe Lastie, Mario Abney and the Abney Effect, Charmaine Neville, James Andrews, Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers, Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony, Glen David Andrews, and several more.

This year, making their Satchmo SummerFest debut is the legendary Dirty Dozen Brass Band who is often credited with revitalizing brass bands in New Orleans and around the world. Celebrating their upcoming 40th anniversary in 2015, the band is set to perform on August 1 at the Red Beans & Ricely Yours Stage at 6:30 p.m.

There will also be brass performances from the Brass-A-Holics, Treme Brass Band, Original Pinettes, and several more. Other festival favorites include John Boutte, Leroy Jones and New Orleans' Finest.

Some special guest will include a performance by Yoshio Toyama, deemed the "Satchmo of Japan." He is set to celebrate his love of New Orleans and Armstrong during his festival performance on Saturday, August 2.

And, in keeping with tradition, Kermit Ruffins will close out the festival by leading a Trumpet Tribute to Louis on Sunday, August 3.

This year the Satchmo SummerFest will hold free seminars that are open to the public and will take place all three days inside the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint. An impressive array of speakers and scholars will present seminars, discussions, music, and movies about the history and progress of New Orleans Jazz and the life and music of Louis Armstrong.

Be sure to check out one of the fabulous line dancing classes. If you are worried about the heat, then come see us in the Where Y'at Magazine "Cool Zone!" Music Schedule

Friday, August 1


Noon PresHall Brass

1:15 New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings

2:30 Clive Wilson's Satchmo Serenade

3:45 John Boutte

5 Charmaine Neville

6:30 Dirty Dozen Brass Band

8 James Andrews


11:45 Free Swing Dance Lesson

12:15 The Smoking Time Jazz Club

1:30 Don Vappie & The Creole Jazz Serenaders

2:30 Free Swing Dance Lesson

3 Shannon Powell & his Traditional All-Stars

4:15 Connie Jones and Tim Laughlin

5:30 New Orleans Moonshiners

6:45 Leroy Jones and New Orleans' Finest

8 Wycliffe Gordon

Saturday, August 2


Noon New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra

1:15 Shotgun Jazz Band

2:30 Treme Brass Band

3:45 Yoshio Toyama & the Dixie Saints

5 Joe Lastie

6:30Mario Abney and the Abney Effect

7:45 Brass-A-Holics


11:45 Free Swing Dance Lesson

12:15 Capital Focus Jazz Band

1:30 Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers

2:30 Free Swing Dance Lesson

3 Gerald French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band

4:15 Kid Merv and All That Jazz

5:30 Evan Christopher's Clarinet Road

6:45 Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony

8 Glen David Andrews

Sunday, August 3


Noon The Norbert Slama Quartet

1:15 Louis Ford & His New Orleans Flairs

2:30 Mahogany Brass Band

3:45 Jeremy Davenport

5 The Ella & Louie Tribute Band

6:30 Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers

7:30 Trumpet Tribute to Louis Armstrong


11:45 Free Swing Dance Lesson

12:15 Red Wolf Brass Band

1:30 Carl LeBlanc

2:30 Free Swing Dance Lesson

3 Steve Pistorius & the Southern Syncopators

4:15 The Calvin Johnson Quintet

5:30 Mark Braud's New Orleans Jazz Giants

6:45 Original Pinettes Brass Band

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