Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Chairman Rodney Harrington is not short on superlatives when describing the lineup for the 22nd annual event which will be held on April 13-14 on the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank.
“Quite simply,” Harrington said, “it will be The Greatest Weekend of Music in Natchitoches History.”
The fun begins on Friday, April 13th with the traditional Festival opener the NSU Jazz Orchestra, followed by the Louisiana Swamp Donkeys. Also featured Friday night will be perennial Zyedco/Cajun favorite, Wayne Toups, along with “The World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band,” LA ROXX.
Saturday will feature a wide variety of music on four stages located around the downtown riverbank area and will culminate later that evening with performances by the hit-making groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Ohio Players, both performing on the brand new main stage.
Harrington says that while the appearance of these headliners in Natchitoches is amazing, there are so many more reasons to come to the Festival earlier in the day and hear some great music.
“I think the whole town is abuzz with ‘Maggie Mania’,” Harrington said when referring to Nashville Country music star, Maggie Rose, who will be performing on the main stage at 3:35 p.m. “Everywhere I go, people ask me what time Maggie is playing and are so excited to have her in Natchitoches.”
Rose, whose single “Pull You Through” is charting on Country music radio and television, has toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and many others. She has been named by CMT, “One of the Next Women of Country.”
For Aerosmith Fans, Pandora’s Box, dubbed “The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute” will be performing on the main stage just before Maggie Rose comes on. Kicking off the main stage Saturday will be local favorites The Hardrick Rivers Revue, followed by Gregg Martinez and The Delta Kings.
Harrington said that his band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, are particularly excited to have the legendary Rick Derringer performing with them again, and that a late addition to the lineup makes Derringer’s appearance even more special this year.
“Rick was a huge hit when he played the Festival four or five years ago, so I guess you could say he is back by popular demand.” Harrington continued, “This year also joining us will be Jon Smith, one of Rock & Roll’s greatest and legendary saxophonists.”
Harrington went on to say that Derringer and Smith were bandmates in Edgar Winter’s White Trash band during the late 60’s and early 70’s, and Smith has gone on to an illustrious career performing with such luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Toto, and Sarah Vaughn.
Harrington promises that, with over twenty bands performing on four different stages, there will be something to appeal to almost every musical taste. “There will be Rock & Roll, Country, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Funk, and, of course, Jazz and R&B,” he said. “In fact, the Beau Jardin Stage features nothing but Jazz all day, so the hardcore Jazz aficionados would never have to leave that spot,”
Natchitoches’ own country music star, Trini Triggs, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies and will perform at various times during the Festival and as always, local groups including Billy O’Con and Badd Apple, Cane River Soul, and Breaktime for Frances will be spotlighted. Of course, there will be plenty of food and activities for the kids with lots of inflatables.
One new feature at this year’s Festival is the addition of limited reserved seating in the new amphitheater in front of the stage.
“Oh, the reserved seats are going to be fantastic,” according to Harrington. There are just over 500 reserved seats and Harrington says that many of them have been sold leaving just over 200 available for sale. Personal chairs will not be allowed on the riverbank but will be allowed at all outer stages and in a limited area on top of the riverbank.
“If you want to be insured a primo place to sit at the Festival, you better order your reserved tickets today!” Harrington concluded. “There is no doubt they will be sold out before Festival weekend.” Reserved seats can only be purchased online.
For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to www.natchjazzfest.com