Festival New Orleans – O2, 25 October 2008

Who says that you can’t get anything for free these days… New Orleans came to the O2 for an amazing two days of music and street parades. And it was all free!

I got there as the Rebirth Brass Band made its way down Bourbon Street. There was a real parade feel to it with traffic coming to a standstill. An New Orleans institution… ‘from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. Rebirth is committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show.’ (source: MySpace). They were fun.

I caught up with them at the Louisiana Pavilion where they were joined on stage by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. All very jolly and brassy! People joining in, dancing and singing.

Marcia Ball was on stage at indigO2. An American Blues singer and pianist, born in Texas but she actually grew up in Louisiana. She was brilliant. The crowd really went for it and it looked like she was having fun too. By the time she sang I’m Coming Down With the Blues, you could close your eyes and think that you were in a club in New Orleans. She has the perfect Bluesy voice.

Back at the Louisiana Pavilion, Allen Toussaint was wooing the crowd. One of the most influential figures in New Orleans’s R&B scene, Toussaint needs no introduction. A legend. I stayed for a couple of songs. It was a great performance but it felt a bit more polished than the other bands I had seen so far and I just wanted to keep that festival feeling…

Festival New Orleans

 What a great way to spend a couple of hours… Vibrant music and great characters… all for free! Great fun.

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