Save the date for the 15th Anniversary Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron: July 30-August 2, 2015.
Produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI), Satchmo SummerFest is an unparalleled celebration of the life, legacy, and music of New Orleans’ native son, Louis Armstrong. What began in 2001 as a way to commemorate the musician’s 100th birthday, Satchmo SummerFest has grown into a three day event filled with entertainment, education, and fare from some of New Orleans most notable restaurants. In 2015, FQFI will implement a nominal $5 daily admission fee (kids 12 and under are free). This fee will be used to keep the quality of the event high and build towards growth and future expansion. Satchmo SummerFest will take place on the grounds of the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint.
“As we celebrate Satchmo SummerFest’s 15th anniversary – and Louis Armstrong’s 115th birthday – we are thrilled to see his influence grow stronger. He’s beloved by new generations of musicians and fans, and those who worship at the altar of Armstrong can’t get enough. Our incredible speakers, traditional jazz musicians, and special events make this event a true, pure, and heartfelt celebration of Satchmo. French Quarter Festivals, Inc. takes enormous pride in producing Satchmo SummerFest and is positioning it for growth in the coming years,” said Marci Schramm, Executive Director of FQFI.
On Thursday, July 30th, Satchmo SummerFest will kick-off with a fundraiser to benefit FQFI. A special screening of the 1956 classic, High Society, will take place at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, one of the oldest community theatres in the country. Starring Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly, the film – the last Grace Kelly made before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco – follows the story of a musician vying for his ex-wife’s affections. High Society was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Song, for Cole Porter’s “True Love.” Hats, gloves, and seersuckers are encouraged for this red carpet event. A limited number of tickets are available for $50 at fqfi.org. Admission will include refreshments.
The 15th anniversary of Satchmo SummerFest also brings the inaugural “Spirit of Satch” Awards. Winners will be champions of jazz in the areas of: music, media, philanthropy, and education, and announced at festival on Friday, July 31st.
August 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures that threatened to drown New Orleans. In commemoration, Satchmo SummerFest will remember and honor those who worked tirelessly to help rebuild the irreplaceable infrastructure that supports New Orleans music – those who comforted, gave housing, replaced instruments, and supplied the practical necessities that gave the music and the music-makers a chance to return. A panel of representatives of these “musical first-responders” will discuss what has been learned in the decade since the flood, with interviews and footage featuring ‘the people who fought to save the music following Hurricane Katrina.’ The discussion will take place inside the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint.
While inside the air-conditioned museum, attendees also can visit the new, never-before-seen exhibit, Louis Armstrong – A Boy from New Orleans. A collaboration between FQFI and the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York, the exhibit includes rare artifacts such as Armstrong’s first cornet from the New Orleans Colored Waif’s Home side-by-side (for the first time ever) with the last Selmer trumpet he brought to his final visit to New Orleans in 1968. Pages from Armstrong’s unpublished manuscripts will be included, in addition to rare audio from Armstrong’s private tapes. Numerous photographs will follow Armstrong from his upbringing to later return visits, such as his first heroic trip home in the summer of 1931 and the time in 1949 when Armstrong’s boyhood ambition of being named “King of the Zulus” was finally realized. Armstrong’s difficult relationship with the city’s race relations will also be touched on, including when Armstrong stayed away from home for decade because his integrated band of All Stars was prohibited from performing in public in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
“By highlighting historic artifacts from so many historic collections, this exhibit will tell the story of Louis Armstrong’s relationship with New Orleans like it has never been told before,” said Ricky Riccardi, Archivist for the Louis Armstrong House and Museum.
Fascinating seminars about Louis Armstrong and the history and influence of jazz in New Orleans will also take place inside the museum. Curated by Fred Kasten and Dr. Connie Atkinson, the lecture series attracts the highest caliber of speakers. In 2015, presenters include Riccardi, Louis Armstrong House Museum Executive Director Michael Cogswell, famous jazz writer Dan Morgenstern, record producers Scott Wenzel and Scott Billington, singers Jewel Brown and Daryl Sherman, trombonist David Sager, author Mick Carlon, WWOZ host and music historian David Kunian, historian Dr. Bruce Boyd Raeburn, music writer John Swenson, and clarinetist Evan Christopher.
Throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, children and parents can relax on the second floor of the museum and enjoy “Pop’s Playhouse”, a dedicated children’s area with an array of educational, entertaining family activities, movies, and exhibits.
Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron will feature the music of over 100 artists representing New Orleans’ finest traditional and contemporary jazz musicians and brass bands. Regular performers include Deacon John and the Ivories, Ellis Marsalis, PresHall Brass, Kermit Ruffins, Lars Edegran, New Birth Brass Band, PresHall Brass, Rebirth Brass Band, Robin Barnes, and Yoshio Toyama and the Dixie Saints. ‘Satchmo in the Shade’ – tented areas where festival-goers can enjoy music and food away from the summer heat – will be located at each stage.
In addition to music and education, Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron showcases New Orleans’ most important indigenous traditions, such as a Sunday morning Jazz Mass at the historic St. Augustine Church in Treme; a traditional second line parade; and traditional jazz dance lessons. Other special events include an opening reception at the historical Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, and a Trumpet Tribute to close the festival. The festival also features authentic Creole cuisine from the area’s finest restaurants to create ‘Red Bean Alley.’
A full schedule will be released in June. For more information on all FQFI festivals and events visit our website at www.fqfi.org or call 504-522-5730.