French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) proudly announces a major move for Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron: the 16th annual event will take place in Jackson Square on August 5-7, 2016. The move will help FQFI achieve its goal to grow Satchmo SummerFest, which began in 2001 as a way to commemorate Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong’s 100th birthday. Since its inception, the event – previously held at the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint – has turned into New Orleans’ premier traditional jazz festival, annually attracting an average of 40,000 attendees. “As we celebrate the Festival’s 16th anniversary – and Louis Armstrong’s 116th birthday – we are thrilled to move into New Orleans’ most beautiful, iconic park. Like Louis Armstrong, Jackson Square is beloved and integral to New Orleans’ history and culture. The new location, along with our incredible symposium panelists, traditional jazz musicians, great restaurants, and special events will make this year’s event incredibly memorable, historic, and high profile.” said Marci Schramm, Executive Director of French Quarter Festivals, Inc. Satchmo SummerFest is held annually on the weekend closest to August 4th – Louis Armstrong’s birthday.
Three Full Days of Music and a New Indoor Stage
Attendees can look forward to festival fare from some of New Orleans’ best restaurants, unique cultural events like a traditional jazz mass and second lines, a Trumpet Tribute and Birthday Party for Louis Armstrong, and children’s activities. Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron also will bring three full days of music, featuring dozens of New Orleans’ finest traditional and contemporary jazz musicians and brass bands.
Introducing the New ‘Back o’ Town’ Stage
This year Satchmo SummerFest grows with the addition of the new ‘Back o’ Town’ stage located inside the air-conditioned Louisiana State Museum’s Arsenal (600 St. Peter Street, 2nd floor). The ‘Back o’ Town’ will feature a dance floor, NOLA Jitterbugs, and live dance music on Saturday andSunday. Inside Jackson Square, two additional stages (the ‘Red Beans and Ricely Yours Stage’ and ‘Cornet Chop Suey Stage’) will provide three days of musical performances. The lineup includesDirty Dozen Brass Band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Bill Summers & Jazalsa, Kermit Ruffins, Brass-A-Holics, Catherine Russell (debut), Yoshio Toyama and the Dixie Saints, Jeremy Davenport, Trumpet Tribute to Louis Armstrong featuring James Andrews, Victor Goines (debut), Wendell Brunious, and many more. Visit fqfi.org/satchmo to view the full music schedule.
Satchmo Symposium to Include Pulitzer Panel Celebrating the 100-Year Anniversary of the Pulitzer
The Satchmo Symposium, three days of fascinating seminars with internationally-respected Satchmo scholars and musicians, will be held inside Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré. This year’s Symposium includes a special panel developed in partnership with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Pulitzer: Celebrating 100 years of Pulitzer – From New Orleans to the World Stage: The Artistic Journeys of Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis. The panel will explore and contrast the approaches, outlooks, and outputs of both artists – as well as how they were influenced by New Orleans; it will be moderated by New Orleans journalist (NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune) and historian James Karst.
On Friday, August 5, Grammy Award-winning artist Catherine Russell will present From Satchmo’s Knee to a Grammy. Russell grew up in New York City as the daughter of musical royalty: her father was pianist, bandleader, and longtime Louis Armstrong musical director Luis Russell; her mother, Carline Ray, was a celebrated artist who performed with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams, and Ruth Brown, among others. Catherine, who met Louis Armstrong when she was very young, has toured the world as a backup singer with such top artists as David Bowie, Jackson Browne, and Cyndi Lauper – and over the last 10 years has released five critically-acclaimed CDs (and earned a Grammy) as a solo artist and bandleader. Catherine makes her Satchmo SummerFest debut on stage at Festival and will talk about her fascinating musical heritage and wide-ranging career with interviewer Fred Kasten.
Author Mick Carlon presents A Conversation with Jack Bradley. Bradley was one of Pops’ most trusted friends as well as the ‘photo-taker’ of some of the most beautifully candid Armstrong photographs ever captured. Bradley traveled with Armstrong for years, taking photos and collecting an incredible collection of artifacts which were recently donated to the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archives in New York. Jack, now 82 and retired on Cape Cod, sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Carlon about his deep friendship with the man the world knew and loved as ‘Satchmo.’ The recently-recorded interview will be shown on Sunday, August 7. A full Satchmo SummerFest Symposium schedule can be found at fqfi.org/satchmo.
‘Spirit of Satch Awards’ and Other Special Events
The 16th anniversary of Satchmo SummerFest presented by Chevron also brings the return of the ‘Spirit of Satch’ Awards. Winners are champions of jazz and New Orleans music in a variety of areas, including ‘Jazz Education’, ‘Keeping Traditional Jazz Alive and Well’, and ‘Preserving our Musical Legacy’. The winners will be announced at festival on Friday, August 5 during the opening ceremony on the ‘Red Beans and Ricely Yours’ 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 beautiful and historic Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (the official hotel of Satchmo SummerFest), a special Louis Armstrong film screening at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, ‘Pops’ Playhouse’ – a dedicated children’s area, and a Trumpet Tribute and birthday celebration to close the festival. The festival also features authentic Creole cuisine from the area’s finest restaurants to create ‘Red Bean Alley.’ Daily admission is $5 (children 12 and under are free). For more information on FQFI festivals and events visit fqfi.org or call 504-522-5730.