August 6-7, 2005
New Orleans, LA
Originally held in 2001 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Louis Armstrong's birth, this weekend festival soon became a regular event. The 5th annual Satchm SummerFest was my first.
Three main stages plus a kids stage surround the Old US Mint, on the quiet northeast edge of the French Quarter. The music is all jazz of one flavor or another: traditional, contemporary, and brass bands, and is pretty much all local New Orleans players.
The weather, while hot, was surprisingly bearable, at least for New Orleans in August. The stage areas all include at least some grass, and equally important, there's some shade. The Mint building was open and free, and provided cold AC, clean bathrooms, and water fountains. About a dozen food booths supplied some tasty eats, and beer was available for a reasonable $3/can. The Fest itself is free admission, and even allows outside food and beverages of all kinds (no glass).
The grounds are small, but attendance was reasonable, maybe a few thousand each day, to keep things "just right". Who knows, in a decade or two, we may be fondly remembering these early days of Satchmo as the good old days, before things got so crowded...
|Hot 8 Brass Band
|Troy Andrews takes a break from the trombone to play some air guitar.
|The Brass Band Stage
|Dr. Michael White
|Never too hot to dance!
|Kermit Ruffins, with the Tambourine Lady
|"Uncle" Lionel Batiste
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Photos copyright © 2005 by Swag