Monday, June 24, 2024

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John

In a city full of unique events, Bayou Boogaloo rises to the top as one of New Orleans’ most special festivals. While not as large as other New Orleans spring festivals, none allow the one-of-a-kind opportunity to watch musical acts perform from the cool comfort of the water. Set along the meandering banks of the historic Bayou St. John, Bayou Boogaloo allows festival goers the chance to purchase either a land ticket to boogie on terra firma or a water ticket to enjoy the three-day festival with bayou access from their personal canoe, kayak, tube, float, or homemade barge. 

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

The wild magic of Bayou Boogaloo was captured perfectly in this year’s stunning poster entitled ‘Beneath the Surface’ from local artist Lillian Aguinaga. Speaking to her inspiration, Aguinaga stated, she wanted to “bridge the gap between music and visual art because that’s a huge part of New Orleans culture.” The visual love letter to the festival intertwines local wildlife, musical instruments, and cultural symbols with nods specific to this year’s performers like GZA and Ashley Shabankareh from Marina Orchestra.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

Bayou Boogaloo was created in 2006 by Friends of Bayou St. John, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and preserving the Bayou St. John neighborhood. Part of the commitment to preserving the integrity of the Bayou is keeping the festival environmentally sustainable, implementing eco-friendly practices such as recycling initiatives and heavily promoting low-impact transportation including public transit, biking, and kayaking. Since its inception, the festival has helped revitalize the neighborhood and support local artists and businesses, featuring a marketplace of dozens of local artisans and a food village of over twenty vendors and food trucks.

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

James Clesi, owner of Clesi’s Seafood Restaurant & Catering, was excited for his tenth year participating in Bayou Boogaloo. Not only was Clesi on hand dishing up his famous crawfish, but he also judged the crawfish eating contest and sponsored a raucous musical performance by Pollo Asado: A NOLA Tribute To Ween on Saturday night. “This is one of the highlights of my year,” Clesi exclaimed. “Not only is it the official start to summer, but you get to chill out with all your friends and family right on the water, eat great food, hear music. There’s really nothing like it anywhere else!” 

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

Clesi isn’t the only person who believes that Bayou Boogaloo is the perfect place to bring the whole family. According to the fest, about 25% of festival attendees bring at least one child. Not only does Bayou Boogaloo have a relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal family destination, it has a dedicated Kid’s Cultural Pavilion featuring interactive performances, storytelling, and acts to specifically engage children.

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

The Little Wing band from the School of Rock Metairie/New Orleans was an ideal act to kick off Sunday. Little Wing is the school’s youngest program and gives four- to five-year-olds a space to explore their musical passions and learn musical skills like rhythm, song structure, melody and dynamics by playing games and interactive musical activities. Little Wing delighted the Bayou Boogaloo crowd with popular sing-along rock songs such as ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and ‘We Are the Champions,’ inspiring budding musicians to sign up for the program.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

After Little Wing’s performance, the Muggivan School of Irish Dance took the stage. Owner and director of the school, Joni Muggivan, gave insights to the cultural significance the Irish made in forming New Orleans in-between dances by her troupe. “The Irish are part of the fabric of New Orleans,” Muggivan stated after a reel. “Not only did they help dig Western Boulevard, now known as Canal Street, they brought with them their rich musical traditions, including ballads and dance. These traditions merged with those of other ethnic groups in New Orleans, influencing the city’s music scene.”

Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

Bayou Boogaloo does a fantastic job of showcasing the diversity of New Orleans entertainment. Added to the festival in 2023, and making a triumphant return this year, was a stage dedicated to comedy and cabaret acts such as Minx Burlesque, Joshua Starkman’s Variety Hour, and Eureeka’s Drag Brunch.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

The festival also strives to book culturally diverse acts and bands that have not yet performed at the festival including first time Bayou Boogaloo performers Los Güiros, a psychedelic Cumbia band, and ÌFÉ, an electronic Afro-Caribbean act. The emphasis on international influences and new performers not only ensures to reach a wide range of festival attendees but keeps the festival fresh year after year. 

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

Finding these new musical gems are what appeals to a lot of festival attendees like Louis Crispino who said he lives just a few blocks away from the festival and said he loves being able to walk to the fest and discover new bands like RumpelSTEELskin, who were filling the air with a bombastic cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ while we talked. RumpelSTEELskin is made up of several members of the Revivalists as a fun side project.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict
Bayou Boogaloo 2024 Brought Good Vibes To Bayou St. John
Photo Credit: Tiffany Anderson/The Travel Addict

It’s definitely the overwhelming consensus that the unique location and diversity of the festival are its main appeals, bringing fans back year after year.  “I think I’ve gone to all seventeen Boogaloos,” Nellie Underwood said, dancing underneath her sunflower umbrella to New York’s all-female tribute band Lez Zeppelin. “I always hear someone new and see bands I’ve loved for years. Everything is right here within a couple of blocks. All I want to do is boogie-loo!” And who can blame her? Three days on the bayou with great food, arts, crafts, and endless entertainment. All I want to do is Bayou Boogaloo too!

Words and photos by: Tiffany Anderson @feralphotography

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