NOLA Zydeco Fest debuts at the Jazz Museum on Saturday | Events
For Gabrielle Deculus and her cousin Courtney Smith, the NOLA Zydeco Fest is as much a tribute to their family as it is to the music itself. Their great-grandfather was Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin, the pioneering Creole accordionist and singer who helped lay the groundwork for zydeco, and the two festival organizers wanted to debut on the festival circuit to tell the story of the history of their family’s legacy.
“It was just like we had to do our part,” Deculus says, “because we haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to grow up to be part of the band – more just the support of the family, dancing since we started. are children. “
The first NOLA Zydeco Fest takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 3 at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. The lineup includes Grammy-nominated accordionist Sean Ardoin – also a descendant of Bois Sec Ardoin – Lil ‘Nathan & The Zydeco Big Timers and Rusty Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush of Lake Charles. In more familial relationships, Lil ‘Nathan is the son of Nathan Williams, who runs Zydeco Cha Chas.
“The groups show the variety of styles of Zydeco music and the roots of the families that have contributed to this culture,” explains Deculus.
Alongside musicians zydeco, Brass-A-Holics from New Orleans, Flagboy Giz from the Wild Tchoupitoulas and Flagboy Doogie from the Wild Magnolias will also perform.
WGNO-TV presenter Tamica Lee will host the festival, and DJ Spin Griffey and DJ Alley Bea will also provide more music. Zydeco is dance music, and instructors Harold Guillory and Arthur Corbin will be giving a bootcamp before the groups start.
Twelve food vendors including Elton’s Bar-B-Krewe, Rootz Cuisine and Sweet Thangs NOLA Designer Snoballs will serve items. Cajun Fire Brewing Company and Seven Three Distilling will offer beers and cocktails. And nearby, on Saturday, the Creole tomato festival will also take place at the French market.
General admission to the festival is free and includes access to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Tickets for a shaded VIP lounge with drinks included are $ 65.
Beyond her family roots in the genre, Deculus – who grew up in Baton Rouge, spends family weekends in Eunice and Mamou, and moved to New Orleans several years ago – says she wanted to increase the exposure of zydeco artists in New Orleans.
Zydeco is performed in stores and restaurants or used in marketing campaigns, “but our family, friends and others who are a part of the culture perform and play everywhere other than New Orleans”, explains Deculus. “They need more fairness here. We need more fairness here.
“I am a Creole woman from southwest Louisiana and I think there are some misconceptions about what Louisiana Creole culture is,” she adds. “All of these things sort of overlap.”
The NOLA Zydeco Fest wants to build bridges between the cultures of southwest Louisiana and New Orleans, explains Deculus. By including Brass-A-Holics, Flagboy Giz, who released her debut album, “Flagboy of the Nation,” on Mardi Gras, and Flagboy Doogie, she hopes to exemplify the commonalities behind the lore.
“I feel a bit like zydeco music, Mardi Gras Indians had to make their own way and create space and entertainment for blacks who were not welcome in other spaces. They created their own practices, ”explains Deculus. “I feel like it can expose those who love zydeco music to the culture of New Orleans and those who follow the Masking Indians to the zydeco culture. We may manifest our energy and appreciation in a different way, but we relate to each other in more ways than people realize.
The NOLA Zydeco festival, which received a grant from the New Orleans Tourism and Culture Fund, also plans to host monthly zydeco events in the near future, Deculus said. They are always looking for a location.
The festival not only wants to give “people the opportunity to come together, but also to give them the opportunity to learn about zydeco”, explains Deculus. “Zydeco, yeah, once you’ve learned some steps and figured out that rhythm, anything you want to do from that point on is cool. Do whatever you want, but make sure you keep pace.
NOLA Zydeco Fest
saturday july 3
11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New Orleans Jazz Museum, 400 Esplanade Ave.
Free general admission; $ 65 VIP