Red Beans and Ricely Yours
Satchmo SummerFest returns to the Old U.S. Mint
Louis Armstrong loved red beans almost as much as he loved making music, thus his ingenious signature “Red Beans and Ricely Yours.” In New Orleans we eat red beans on Monday and celebrate the influence of Louis Armstrong with an annual summer festival.
Satchmo SummerFest is produced by French Quarter Festivals Inc., which also produces the French Quarter Festival in the spring. Taking place July 30 to August 2, the location and line-up is similar to previous years, with one major change.
For the first time in 15 years, this year’s iteration will require a daily admission fee of $5 for people aged 13 and up. The festival says this change happened in order to “keep the quality of the event high and build towards growth and future expansion.” As event production costs rise, it is understandable that they are starting to charge admission, and they have already brought new programs to the table this year. They will be unveiling a new Louis Armstrong exhibit, launching the “Spirit of Satch” Awards and will have a special presentation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Katrina.
"As we celebrate Satchmo SummerFest's 15th anniversary – and Louis Armstrong's 115th birthday – we are thrilled to see his influence grow stronger. Our incredible speakers, traditional jazz musicians and special events make this event a true, pure and heartfelt celebration of Satchmo. French Quarter Festivals Inc. is positioning it for growth in the coming years," said Marci Schramm, executive director of FQFI.
Located on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint, the festival will feature over 40 musicians, including contemporary and traditional jazz and brass bands. Highlights of the 2015 line-up include: Deacon John, Jewel Brown, Bill Summers, Rebirth Brass Band, Yoshio Toyama and Kermit Ruffins.
The “Satcho Symposium” offers 17 seminars on a variety of aspects of Armstrong’s career and life including: “Keynote Conversation: Musical First Responders,” which will cover the infrastructure that supports New Orleans music and the recovery since Katrina; “Satchmo: His Life in New Orleans;” “Distinct and Original Voices: Louis and Bix;” and “Cinematic Satch: Louis Armstrong in East Berlin,” among many others.
Special activities for children are centered in the “Pops’ Playhouse for Kids”, where families will create collages, decorate Zulu coconuts and craft harmonicas and maracas, as well as have access to special books and content geared for children.
The festival has grown each year and offers much beyond the musical performances. It has become a cultural celebration of Armstrong’s life through historic presentations, academic seminars, second lines and Sunday masses. And of course, the beloved cuisine of New Orleans.
For information on the two stages of musical performances, click here. Details on the Symposium and special events can be found here.