Mid-City residents disappointed with the cancellation of the October Jazz Festival now have something to look forward to. A city-wide event known as NOLAxNOLA (nodding to SXSW music and film festivals in Austin, Texas) opens Thursday (October 7).
To help fill the void created by the cancellation of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it presents 251 gigs – maybe more, check it out this link – around town for the 10 days that would have been filled with Jazz Fest and performances galore at clubs and other venues.
The Broadside, at 600 N. Broad St. and the Zony Mash Beer Project, at 3940 Thalia St. are among the local venues selected to participate, and they will feature some of New Orleans’ most beloved musicians.
The series is the result of New Orleans & Company, formerly known as the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Sig Festival Events. Co-founder Sig Greenebaum is a music and festival producer with the Voodoo music experience, among others, to his credit.
NOLAxNOLA co-founder and producer Paul Peck points out how strong New Orleans’ music community is and how it spans across many neighborhoods and locations. “I see music as the lifeblood of the city,” he said, “and it has been difficult for them. Jazz Fest was going to be the light at the end of the tunnel because, as we know, Fest visitors also flock to the venue afterwards. “
Sig Fest Events wanted to help support venues and musicians, which is why the idea of NOLAxNOLA was born. “It’s a real coalition,” Peck said. He credited Stephen Perry, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, and Ben Jaffee, Creative Director of Preservation Hall, with being instrumental in making the event happen.
Kelly Schulz, senior vice president of communications at New Orleans & Company, echoed Peck’s take on the New Orleans music community. “There is no New Orleans without New Orleans music. And that helps boost our economy and supports local businesses, ”he said.
This local music extravaganza aims to generate income for clubs and musicians in the face of canceled concerts by bringing visitors to town and luring locals to clubs.
All regulations in place in New Orleans to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus will be enforced. The sites all require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours. Masks are mandatory so as not to eat or drink.
New Orleans & Company addresses the pandemic head-on in a press release: “We want residents to have safe places to attend shows and we will promote to travelers that they keep their travel plans, while following all vaccination and safety guidelines, because the shows must continue. “
Organizers hope that NOLAxNOLA (pronounced “Nola by Nola”) will become a national model on how to safely present music during the pandemic. Locals and visitors alike are welcome to get vaccinated and thus help bring back the beloved New Orleans music scene.
“We hope to make this an annual October event,” Schulz said, “as the Jazz Fest resumes its regular spring schedule.”
The plank, outdoor companion of the Broad Theater, launches its six-concert series featuring jazz, funk and R&B sounds from guitarist and singer Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, with the Johnny Sansone Band with Papa Mali.
On October 8, Hep Cat Presents: Cimafunk + TBA, describes himself as defying classification, “a pilgrim in search of a new musical mix and the reunion of black music”.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation will follow on October 9, when conductor and trombonist Sammie “Big Sam” Williams will present the band’s wild mix of funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop.
Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen grace the stage on October 10, with additional attractions from Walter “Wolfman” Washington, James Rivers and Nigel Hall.
On October 14, the Honey Island Swamp Band takes fans back to the ’60s and’ 70s with “Dark Side of the Swamp”, a riff from Pink Floyd’s iconic 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon”.
The concert series concludes on October 16 with the contemporary brass sounds of Soul Rebels.
Just down the road, the Zony Mash beer project begins October 9 by featuring the funk rock band Flow Tribe. Then, on October 11, A Tribute to Eddie Bo and the Lost Legends of New Orleans Funk. Zony Mash events end with more funk: The future of All Stars under-30 funk takes center stage on October 14.
The whole NOLAxNOLA range and the links to buy tickets can be found here.