Saturday, May 25, 2024

Bayou Boogaloo Returns To New Orleans May 17-19, 2024

Unlike any other festival in New Orleans is The Bayou Boogaloo, an almost 20-year annual tradition taking place on land and water. Not only do guests get to have the classic festival experience of grabbing a spot in front of the stage and eating local food, they can also relax while boating and floating on the bayou, taking in the music filling the air. 

The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo is a music, food, and art festival on the banks of Bayou St. John in New Orleans. The festivities will take place over three days, Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19. The Festival producer, Jared Zeller sought to bring together more music genres than ever, stating “Our goal this year was to cast a wide net over the many musical genres that exist in New Orleans.” The Festival will have its usual funk, R&B, and jazz favorites but will also include groups performing metal, hip hop, cabaret, and beach rock. 

In addition to two stages and a Comedy & Cabaret tent, the Bayou Boogaloo features a curated arts market, a Kid’s Cultural Pavilion, a VIP Crescent 9 Canopy Club, a Crawfish Eating Contest and food from a slew of local vendors. Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries will also be on-site this year with a baby alligator petting zoo and environmental hub, The Moss St. Marina will be on-site hosting educational sessions about the bayou ecosystem. 

The line up includes over 30 artists with headliners and nationally known musical artists Nik West, GZA & the Phunky Nomads, and Lez Zeppelin. Other highly anticipated performances are comedy shows, drag shows, and burlesque dancing.

Bayou Boogaloo Returns To New Orleans May 17-19, 2024
Photo Courtesy of Bayou Boogaloo

Here’s an itinerary for each themed day of the festival:

Friday, May 17 – Bass Players We Love

  • Headliner, former Prince bassist Nik West
  • New Orleans bass icon, former Meter and Funky Meter George Porter Jr. & his Runnin’ Pardners
  • Performances from Quintron and Miss Pussycat, SaxKixAve and Dave Jordan & the NIA
  • Lefty Lucy’s Burlesque Bingo
  • Acts at the Comedy & Cabaret tent include Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober hosted by Isaac Kozell and Lefty Lucy’s Burlesque Bingo. In Stoned vs. Drunk vs. Sober, the audience votes on who delivered the best comedy set: the stoned comedians, the drunk comedians or the sober comedians.

Saturday, May 18 – Outliers and Outlaws

  • Founding member of the Wu Tang Clan GZA headlines with his band GZA & the Phunky Nomads
  • Morning 40 Federation alocal outlaw party band
  • Naughty Professor with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5
  • Pollo Asado: A NOLA Tribute to Ween featuring members of Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, Mike Doussan and more
  • New Orleans newcomer and Tedeschi Trucks drummer Isaac Eady leading his band Isaac Eady & Third Moon
  • Metal-head favorite Suplecs
  • Raw Deal feat. Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, the Galactic vocalist leading a supergroup featuring the Naughty Professor horn section through a tight set of 1970’s funky pop hits
  • Performances from beach and yacht rockers Marina Orchestra, Sierra Green & the Giants, and jam-band loving Hash Cabbage
  • Acts at the Comedy & Cabaret tent include LGBTLOL with Ryan Rogers and Shep Kelly, Matt Owens, Samantha Bednarz, Minx Burlesque and a Bayou Roast Battle hosted by Pickle where the audience gets to vote on which comedian roaster the best 

Sunday, May 19 – We Want To Take You Higher

  • Headliner Lez Zeppelin on the main stage
  • A special performance from Afroman of his song “Because I Got High”
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation with their usual big horns and high-energy set
  • Rumpelsteelskin feat. Revivalist steel guitar player Ed Williams and other members of The Revivalists
  • Performances by Eric Johanson, Buckwheat Zydeco Jr., ÌFÉ, Tiny Dinosaur, latin dance band Los Guiros, and The St. Claude Serenaders
  • Acts at the Comedy & Cabaret tent include Eureeka’s Drag Brunch presented by Ruby Slipper, Jason Leonard, Taj Washington, Amanda G., Allison Hotard, and Joshua Starkman’s Variety Hour

Aside from providing guests with a memorable, safe, and exciting experience, the non-profit Friends of Bayou St. John, who runs the festival, has taken special eco-friendly initiatives and has dedicated time to preserving the bayou. Last year alone, the festival’s eco-friendly efforts resulted in the recycling of 8,184 cans, 405 lbs of plastic, 3,000 lbs of glass and a full superstack of cardboard. 

The non-profit was recently awarded funding from Keep Louisiana Beautiful via the Greener Grounds Grant for Louisiana’s Large Outdoor Events. This will enable the organization to maintain an even stronger litter and waste reduction program and recycling efforts at this year’s Bayou Boogaloo. Some of their recent ecological projects include frequent bayou clean-ups and litter control programs.

In between performances, be sure to visit the Art Market, a gathering of over 60 local artists with handmade goods. Some items you may see are tie-dyed clothing, hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, beauty products, paintings, and dozens more. You can preview all of this year’s artists here and get an idea of the booths you may want to check out. 

Bayou Boogaloo Returns To New Orleans May 17-19, 2024
Photo Courtesy of Bayou Boogaloo

Each year a local artist is commissioned to create a unique poster for the festival. This year the artist is Lillian Aguinaga, a Peruvian-American figurative painter and muralist. Lillian used bright colors to represent some classic New Orleans sights with an artistic twist, like a hot pink alligator, waterlogged horns, and the Magnolia Bridge. You can order one of the vibrant posters here

There will be over 20 local food vendors with choices that everyone will enjoy. Of course, you can indulge in classic New Orleans staples like crawfish, seafood, and Cajun style foods. You can even branch out from the staples and try some Asian food, fresh fruit and salads, crepes, and more. 

Lastly, let’s make sure you’re prepared with all the basic need-to-know information on the basics of the festival. The festival is rain or shine, so check the daily forecast and come prepared with weather specific clothes. The gates will open at 4:30pm on Friday, and 11:00am on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online prior to the festival or by scanning QR codes on the festival grounds. Make sure you receive your ticket in your email so you are able to pick up your weekend wristband. 

Single day land tickets are now available for $20.00 and will increase in price on May 13, so make sure to grab your tickets soon! Also available for purchase are three-day weekend passes for $39.50. This pass allows for guests to enter and exit the festival freely on all three days. As always, kids 12 and under are granted free admission.

Festival-goers who look forward to relaxing on the water must purchase a regular-priced ticket to the festival for entry, which includes a $2.00 environmental fee that supports efforts to preserve and maintain Bayou St. John. Make sure if you bring a pool float or build a homemade barge in the water that you remove it once the festival is over. If not, you will be subject to a $100.00 removal fee if floats are left in the bayou for more than 24 hours after the festival ends.

If you’re looking for a special VIP experience, Crescent 9 Canopy Club VIP passes are available for $250.00. These passes allow re-entry and access to the VIP area, a shaded oasis next to the stage with front stage access, elevated viewing deck, private restrooms with AC and a selection of complimentary beverages and local eats. You can find all of the ticket options here

The 2024 Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo is sure to stir up some fun moments this time around with its special performances, local artists, and dozens of food vendors. Start preparing for this uniquely New Orleans Bayou Festival and grab your tickets while they last!

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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