Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Big Sam's Funky Nation (pictured), Bill Summers & Jazalsa and others headline Satchmo SummerFest, which celebrates Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's birthday in a three-day festival in Jackson Square.
The festival moves from its longtime home at the Old U.S. Mint to Jackson Square, and the scholarly portion of the event features talks and film screenings at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. Marci Schramm, executive director of French Quarter Festivals Inc., says increased attendance prompted the move.
"For years the attendance hovered around 30,000 people, but a couple of years ago we hit 57,000," Schramm says. "It was the year we featured Allen Toussaint as the headliner, and we realized that we need more space."
There will be two stages in Jackson Square, including one inside a large tent, and the festival added an indoor stage at the Louisiana State Museum's Arsenal. There also will be an indoor kids' activities area. Picnic tables with large umbrellas and misting stations will be set up in the square. Other regular festival features include free dancing lessons, a trumpet tribute to Armstrong and a jazz Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church followed by a second-line parade to the festival.
Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell, daughter of the late Luis Russell, a long-time Armstrong bandmate, performs. The music lineup also includes PresHall Brass, Victor Goines, Wendell Brunious, Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest, Charmaine Neville, Treme Brass Band, Jeremy Davenport and others.
Festival admission is $5; free for children 12 and under.