New Orleans celebrates the life, legacy and music of its most famous native son, Louis Armstrong, with Satchmo SummerFest, a festival happening August 4-6 at the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint. Produced by the same folks who put on French Quarter Festival, this annual event is now in its 17th year.
The festival usually takes place during the first full weekend in August, commemorating Armstrong’s birthday on August 4. Read on to get the full scoop on what to expect at this year’s Satchmo Summerfest.
Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans
You’d expect music to take center stage at any event celebrating the life of world famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong, and it certainly does. Satchmo SummerFest features three stages of live music, with a focus on local brass bands, as well as contemporary and traditional jazz performers. You can also join in for free dance lessons at the Back O’Town Stage twice daily at 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
On Friday, Aug. 4, (that’s Satchmo’s birthday!) check out Preservation Hall Brass Band, the Swamp Donkeys, Hot 8 Brass Band, and so many more. On Saturday, August 5, tune in for John Boutte, Robin Barnes, Shamarr Allen, and other top-notch local acts. Sunday finishes out the fest; you won’t want to miss the Trumpet Tribute to Louis Armstrong with Kermit Ruffins at 7:30 p.m. on the Red Beans and Ricely Yours stage.
It’s a New Orleans festival, so you’d better believe there’s bound to be plenty of great food to choose from, and Satchmo SummerFest is no exception. The event features a wide variety of great New Orleans food options, including shrimp remoulade, crawfish pie, crispy chicken wings, and even an ice cream po-boy.
Vegetarian choices include white butter beans with okra and greens from The Praline Connection, a mushroom pie with Creole taters from Lasyone’s Meatpie Restaurant, and jalapeno slaw from the Company Burger. There are also gluten-free options like Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and vegetables.
Music history buffs and festival attendees looking for an escape from the heat should head to the third floor of the Old U.S. Mint (the Jazz Museum) for a series of special events. “Satchmo Symposium” features talks on Armstrong’s contributions as a music critic, his time in Europe, and other little-known facts about the musician.
Satchmo SummerFest offers a little something for everyone, including children. Kids activities crafts and music education all inside the air-conditioned New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint. The opening day second line parade on Friday morning and the annual Jazz Mass on Sunday are also not to be missed.