The contributors to The Southland Music Line frequent several music festivals throughout the year. Since the autumn of 2016, we have attended a number of such events including South By Southwest, 30A Songwriters, Coachella, Desert Trip, Summerfest, Bottle Rock, Arroyo Seco Weekend, Americana Fest, Classic East, British Summer Time at Hyde Park and more.
Each year one of our highlights has been the annual Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival in Bogalusa, LA. We have now attended the festival for four consecutive years. When planning our schedule for 2017, we placed high priority on attending this annual September event.
In past years, we have written numerous articles and provided photo collections by Stephen Anderson commemorating the festival. In previous articles, we have mentioned several examples of Bogalusa’s deeply rooted connection to music. We have seen a kinship to the New Orleans music scene including a bond with several of that city’s charmed music festivals. I guess The Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival could be likened as the little brother to the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the highly popular annual event held in the nearby city to the south.
There are several things that give us good reason for returning to Bogalusa beginning with the kindness of the people who attend the festival and those who volunteer who help make things run smoothly. The organizers of the BBHF have put much thought into making this annual weekend held at Bogalusa’s Cassidy Park become one of the most welcoming festivals throughout the region. We will go a step further to say it’s one of the nation’s nicest and most accommodating festivals.
The problem with most festivals are huge crowds, long lines, overpriced food and drink, a division between those who can afford VIP accommodations and those who cannot, and little access to the musicians and live entertainment. At the BBHF these nuisances do not exist, but rather it is family friendly, affordable and has much access to the talent.
Picturesque Cassidy Park is a spacious recreational park with abundant on-site camping. The festival grounds provide shaded areas to avoid the midday sun, a stage made particularly for the festival with a lowered area in front of stage for dancing and superior photography access (no one in front of the stage obstructs a view of those behind them). An array of vendors provide a variety of great food items including some local cuisine thus making a weekend at the festival an enjoyable experience.
In 2016, we recorded the TV show “Music Scene” and we made frequent mention of the festival. We have also done so on radio, podcasts and what we consider the best possible method – “word of mouth”. This year we had several friends make the trip to Bogalusa to enjoy the festival.
As with past years, the event takes place on a Friday evening and a full day on Saturday. This year’s Friday evening show was kicked off by Colin Lake and his full band from New Orleans. Lake is not new to us and his evening performance was an excellent way to start things off in Bogalusa. He was followed by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux who was joined by the great Johnny Sansone. We have enjoyed Boudreaux’s New Orleans Funk, Blues, and traditional Mardi Gras Indian music at a previous Bogalusa Festival also. The night came to its climatic closure when Anders Osbourne hit the stage. We last saw Osbourne at 2016’s Lockin’ Festival and it was a great experience seeing him bring his Grammy winning music to the Bogalusa Blues Stage.
Saturdays are a full day of music with both stages alive with incredible talent. Our good friend Wes Lee opened the day’s lineup on the Blues Stage. Wes has performed at Bogalusa before and is no stranger to the region’s music scene. We first met Wes at the nearby (now closed but loved) famous Birdie’s Road House while he was performing with The Jericho Road Show.
Also included during the day’s lineup on the Blues Stage was Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, an American blues musician and proprietor of the world famous Blue Front Café. Earlier this year, The Line’s Stephen Anderson attended the Bentonia Blues Festival which prominently features Holmes. His likeness was used in the design for this year’s Mississippi Bicentennial Stamp. As the evening approached, Victor Wainwright entertained the Bogalusa audience with his crowd pleasing piano playing backed by his great band.
At the Heritage Stage, The Franklinton High School Jazz Band, Washington Parish Arts Program/Believe Music Camp (under the direction of Bruce Sampson), Tea J. Moore, and Travis Clark all performed. The final performance of the evening on the Heritage stage was by the iconic Louisiana band, Louisiana’s LeRoux. The Heritage stage headliner is famous for their hits “New Orleans Ladies (1978) and Nobody Said It Was Easy (Lookin’ For the Lights)” (1981).
Back at The Blues Stage, Samantha Fish performed for her second straight year. She showcased several new songs from her latest album “Chills & Fever” – a true crowd pleaser.
The night and festival’s final performers were the Grammy winning The North Mississippi All-Stars. The Dickinson brothers and company (Danielle Nicole and Johnny Vidacovich) topped off the already spectacular festival.
The 6th Annual Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival further proved itself as one of our most enjoyed events of the year. We look forward to next year and we hope many will consider joining us.
Thank you to the Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival organizers and volunteers. We also must acknowledge the good folks of Bogalusa, Louisiana for their hospitality.
This Year’s Schedule:
FRIDAY – SEPT. 29
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
SATURDAY – SEPT. 30
Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes
North Mississippi Allstars
SATURDAY – SEPT. 30
FHS Jazz Band
Tea J. Moore
Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival
Bogalusa, Louisiana Offical Website
Colin Lake’s Official Website
Big Chief Monk Boudreux’s Official Website
Johnny Sansone’s Official Website
Anders Osborne Offical Website
Wes Lee’s Official Website
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ Official Website
Victor Wainwright’s Official Website
Samantha Fish’s Official Website
Danielle Nicole’s Official Website
North Mississippi Allstars’ Official Website
Johnny Vidacovich’s Official Website
Louisiana’s Leroux’s Offical Website
Travis Clark’s Official Website
Tea J. Moore’s Official Website
© The Southland Music Line. 2017. All rights reserved