Leo Nocentelli, Marc Broussard, Deacon John and the Ivories and Samantha Fish are among local performers making their first appearances at Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo, which takes place May 18-20 along Bayou St. John. The festival features local and visiting bands on three music stages and mixes up the lineup every year, says organizer Jared Zeller.
The festival changes a little every year, and this will be the first year it charges admission, although attendees entering before 3 p.m. get in free. But the festival still will have the same mix of music, artisan and craft vendors, boat races and people enjoying the event from canoes, improvised rafts and other flotation devices on the bayou.
Along with fellow members of The Meters, guitarist Leo Nocentelli accepted a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in January. He leads his band The Funkin' Truth in the closing slot Saturday. Marc Broussard headlines Friday night. Born and raised in Acadiana, the guitarist fuses rock, blues, funk and soul-inspired vocals and is best known for his 2007 album S.O.S: Save Our Soul, an album of covers featuring songs by Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and others. Last year, he released Easy to Love, an album with more of an Americana and country feel. Guitarist Deacon John performed on many R&B hits produced by Allen Toussaint, but as a bandleader he's carved out a niche in the blues genre as well. He and his band The Ivories close the festival on Sunday.
Also on the lineup is guitarist Samantha Fish, who last week won a Blues Foundation award for Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist. Fish moved to New Orleans last year and released two albums, Chills & Fever and Belle of the West. She joins Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters on Sunday.
The lineup includes a variety of New Orleans sounds. There's Mardi Gras Indian-based music from both Cha Wa and 101 Runners with Big Chiefs Monk Boudreaux and Juan Pardo. Cha Wa just released the album Spyboy, which features traditional Indian songs arranged with the band's horn section and guitar. There's new music in old jazz styles by Bon Bon Vivant, saxophonist Martin Krusche and his modern jazz outfit Magnetic Ear and jazz bassist Roland Guerin with his band. There's funk from Naughty Professor and the jazz-funk blend of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. Trumpeter Eric Bloom leads Sonic Bloom.
Visiting performers include Paa Kow, a native of Ghana who now lives in Colorado. His world beat style is based in African drumming. North Carolina's Toubab Krewe combines West African percussion instruments and styles with guitar-driven American genres.
There's also a kids' stage, and performers include the Mudlark Puppeteers, Fly Circus Space artists, several youth and school bands and more.
Other annual events are paddle boat races Saturday morning and a bicycle pub crawl later that day.
Festival food vendors include restaurants and food trucks such as Ajun Cajun, Boswell's Jamaican Grill, Boucherie, Bratz Y'all, Crepes a la Cart, Empanola, Felipe's Mexican Taqueria, Food Drunk, Gulf Tacos, Mona's Cafe, Praline Connection, Quintin's Ice Cream and others. There also are daiquiris, specialty cocktails and beers from Urban South Brewery, Port Orleans Brewing Company and Pacifico.