BBHF kicks off Friday

Published 9:29 am Monday, September 19, 2016

By Marcelle Hanemann

For The Daily News

Get ready to hear some soulful sounds provided by Marc Broussard, Tab Benoit, Chubby Carrier and many more on two stages, and to be steeped in a celebration of artistic heritage when the multiple award-winning, family-friendly Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival V takes place in Bogalusa’s Cassidy Park on Friday, Sept. 23, through Saturday, Sept. 24.

In its fifth year, the BBHF has added attractions, notably a performance by the recently resurrected Louisiana Hayride band. In its heyday, 1948 to 1960, the Hayride provided a home for great musicians like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. And it’s where Elvis got his start, so stay alert!

The inaugural BBHF in 2012 was named the New Event of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. It has repeatedly been named a TOP 10 Must-Visit Louisiana Festival by Louisiana, and in 2015 it earned the OffBeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award for Best Festival Outside New Orleans.

The accolades are well deserved. Besides offering a wide-ranging top-tier assembly of the hottest current blues artists on its Main Stage and adding to the musical mix with its Heritage Stage for other regional genres, the BBHF celebrates the rich local artistic heritage in a Heritage Trail that includes poets, painters and Professor Longhair, who was born in Bogalusa.

This year’s additions to the Trail are William “Bleu” Evans and Eugene “Gene” Foster. Evans, who will soon be inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, designed and built the internationally acclaimed Studio in the Country and engineered and/or produced many of the Gold and Platinum albums created there. Foster built and opened Magic City Recording Studio in the early 1970’s, then purchased the Studio in the Country in 1979. He worked as Chief Engineer there, as the Platinum continued to pile up.

The festival additionally features a Kids Zone where people of all ages can take part in a drum circle, learn to play harmonica and, this year, get schooled on the didgeridoo. True kids can also tackle a rock climbing wall, test their athletic skills at a Three-in-One station, play on inflatables, and much more. And those 12 and under get in free.

The BBHF also offers vendors of quality arts and crafts, including hand-crafted jewelry, Louisiana Music Maps, hand-made clocks, blown glass, homemade soaps and jellies, and more. And what Louisiana festival does not include mouth-watering food?

This year, food vendors will bring a succulent variety ranging from seafood platters, crawfish pies and beignets, shrimp and grits, stuffed mirlitons, chicken wraps and smoked sausage poboys to red velvet funnel cakes, ice cream, roasted peanuts and snowballs.

For the physically fit, a 5K race will start off the day at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

And it all takes place in a lush, beautiful park setting.

When the park venue of the BBHF was hit by historic and devastating flooding just six months before its fifth anniversary dates, people worried that the normally tranquil green space could not be recovered in time for the 2016 festival. But the organizers were determined to stay home, and with a lot of help, they succeeded. So this year we celebrate not only our fifth birthday, but also getting through the storm, and we’ve assembled a lineup and created an event that’s going to help us make the celebrations truly special!

To see the complete lineup, purchase tickets, reserve camping spaces, or for additional information visit online.

Marcelle Hanemann is the promotions chair for the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival.