Yesterday I took the short drive down I-49 to check out the Natchitoches Jazz Festival. It was my first time hitting up the festival, which was celebrating it's 21st year. The 2-day event had 4 stages spread out across downtown Natchitoches.

My plan was to come for one bad specifically, The New Breed Brass Band. I got to see these guys last year when they opened for Dr. John at The Strand in Shreveport, and they are phenomenal.

When we got settled in front of the main-stage, there was actually a country group on the stage. I thought his was a little odd for a Jazz festival (who has actually tacked R&B onto their name to open it up more) to have a country performer on the main stage, but then I remembered that Grand Funk Railroad was going to headline. I understand having a big headliner that may not be "jazz" to draw in a large crowd, but the mid-afternoon could easily be filled with more jazzy bands.

Anyway.

The audience was entertained between sets by country-musician-turned-emcee Trini Triggs who would launch shirts, cups, and stuffed animals from the stage like it suddenly turned into a Mardi Gras float. He ran through the crowd a few times to shake hands, give hugs, and toss more stuff animals to kids. He actually caught my son with his face buried in his iPad, Triggs placed a bear on his head, quickly moved away, and after my son looked both directions, he looked up to see the culprit, who let out a big "GOTCHA!" and gave everyone around us a good laugh.

In addition to Triggs hosting, he brought up multiple TV talent show performers, like American Idol's Joy Dove and The Voice's DeShawn Washington, both from Natchitoches. Each sang a little for the crowd, and Triggs even delivered a cover tune at one point.

Musically, the other stages had sound pouring from them all afternoon, and it made for an enjoyable walk up and down the riverside as we gathered deep fried food and beers. The food vendors were awesome, I scored some solid gator-on-a-stick, the kids downed a bunch of deep-fried Oreos with a lemonade chaser, and I was able to score some of Shreveport's own Great Raft Beer.

Some of the other stages were way more 'jazz' than what we heard from the main stage, which was great. I don't want to keep hammering on the lack of jazz, because the event was actually a lot of fun and worth every penny. It was just the thing that caught my attention more than anything.

With the main point of my trip being to see The New Breed Brass Band, I was NOT disappointed in anyway. Mix in the fact that I got to enjoy cold Great Raft Beer and gator-on-a-stick, I had an awesome day!

Thank you Natchitoches, you never disappoint!

Natchitoches Jazz Festival
Natchitoches Jazz Festival
Natchitoches Jazz Festival