Bogalusa Chamber’s Festival in the Park lining up impressive list of musical talent

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Bogalusa Chamber’s 27th annual Festival in the Park has been presenting quality musicians in a family-friendly atmosphere in Cassidy Park since 1988 — all in a free-admission event that features crafts, food, children’s entertainment and music from near and far.

Stage performances on Saturday, May 9, will feature DeShawn Washington, who gained national exposure last year on NBC’s hit talent show “The Voice.” The Team Shakira selection performed Sam Cooke’s rendition of “Twisting The Night Away.” He is a Natchitoches native described as a small town guy with big city dreams. Shakira commented, “He’s like an old soul. He’s got that vintage sound. And what amazing control and precision he has.” Usher said, “It is incredible for him (at 23 years old) to come out and really represent what classic soul singing is really about. There are not enough artists out there right now that really understand the true essence of what soul music is about.”

Kern Pratt with Denise Owen and David Hyde are seasoned performers who will bring their deep-rooted blues with rock influences following the recent release of Kern’s Hyde-produced album, titled “Broken Chains.” In an interview regarding important contemporary musicians of Mississippi, author Valerie Egar stated, “Kern Pratt is one guitarist whose playing is commensurate with his rock ‘n roll lifestyle, which also encompasses the blues of the Mississippi Delta. He is unique in this respect and simply not to be overlooked.” Hyde is a talented musician/producer who has performed and recorded with legendary artists such as Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Percy Sledge and Delbert McClinton. This performance may even feature some surprise guests.

New Orleans native Alexes Aiken is an award winning country pop singer/songwriter. The young singer-songwriter has been recording and performing since 2010 and is true to her Louisiana roots. She will be coming off a recent performance at the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans.

The Chris LeBlanc Band has been a mainstay on the Louisiana music scene for more than 20 years. Chris has been billed with nationally known artists, including ZZ Top, Hank Williams Jr., Buddy Guy, Dr. John, B.B. King, Vince Gill and Brett Michaels. He recorded with the legendary Louisiana songwriter Bobby Charles on “Timeless,” the last record before Charles’ death, along with Dr. John, Sonny Landreth, Jerry McGee, Mickey Raphael and David Hyde.

Bogalusa’s David Craig is a veteran musician and songwriter from the early “Studio In The Country” days. He has frequently performed at the festival over the years. Craig is an accomplished singer/songwriter/producer whose songs have been covered by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Memphis Slim and Thunderhead, to name a few.

Local group Right Direction will be on stage Sunday afternoon. There will be additional performers on both days yet to be confirmed. Contact the Bogalusa Chamber at 985-735-5731 or email for more information.