Music fans, this is your weekend!

Published 9:29 am Friday, September 25, 2015

For lack of a better name, I’m calling it the “Washington Parish Super Bowl Music Weekend.”

I know the title needs a little work, but the point is that local music lovers have the unique opportunity to jam out all weekend at two different events around the parish. For all those out there who regularly complain about the lack of quality local entertainment, this weekend is for you.

The fourth Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival starts today in Cassidy Park, with live music from three groups on the Blues Stage only. Saturday’s headliner features the tunes of Keb’ Mo’ on the Blues Stage. He is one of 12 performers taking the stage on Saturday on either the Blues or Heritage stages.

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers takes the Heritage Stage on Saturday night from 6:15 to 7:30. He returns after an outstanding performance at last year’s festival. He puts everything he has into his performance. His boundless energy on stage while playing his accordion left fans wanting more.

Up in Angie, the Great Southern Bluegrass Event is at the R.V. Park on Louisiana Highway 21. It started on Thursday and runs through Saturday night. I caught performances by the Driskill Mountain Boys at April’s spring event and they were very entertaining. That group is scheduled to play five sets over the weekend. Shallow Creek closes out the fall show on Saturday night, playing from 8:30 to 9:30.

Of course, various arts and crafts and food vendors are staples of any festival and the BBHF is no exception. What would a festival be without arts and crafts and something to please the palate?

I’ve heard a lot about renowned chef Gerard Maras. I’ll make it a point to try his red beans and rice with smoked sausage while I’m at the festival. He is also bringing shrimp and grits for festival goes to try. There might be other delicacies to taste while he is in town that we do not yet know about.

Maras, who owns a farm in Franklinton, formerly worked at New Orleans landmark, Commander’s Palace, as well as Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter. Maras teaches private lessons at the New Orleans Cooking Experience. He was schooled in French classical cooking in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla. Just the opportunity to sample his fare is worth the price of admission to the festival.

Approximately 21 arts and crafts vendors are scheduled to be on site. I suggest those who come to the festival for arts and crafts arrive early because things tend to sell out quickly. At least, that is the way it has been in the past.

Saturday’s 5K run/walk, canoeing on the Bogue Lusa Creek, harmonica workshops and activities in the Pioneer and Native American museums are just some of the more interesting activities surrounding the festival.

I can’t fathom all the hard work and preparation that is involved in making the BBHF and Great Southern Bluegrass Event successful and entertaining. BBHF Executive Director Malinda White and Great Southern Bluegrass Event Promoter Chick Boyd are to be commended for bringing quality entertainment to the parish. Their army of volunteers goes above and beyond the call of duty during these events.

Approximately 7,500 attended the 2014 BBHF. The 2015 festival is expected to draw 10,000 fans to the area. The Great Southern Bluegrass Event has its regular fans and I’m sure the air-conditioned indoor facility will be packed as it has been in the past.

Nobody will be keeping score this weekend, but Washington Parish and its citizens are the ultimate winners.

Get out and enjoy the music. Stomp those feet and let your hair down. Times like this don’t come around too often.