Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Thank you Joe and Paula Giocastro, Chuck and Deb Wentworth for your tireless efforts that bring the music of Louisiana to the northeast; thank you dancers for bringing your many feet to move in unison to the infectious syncopated Zydeco beat; thank you Francis Farms for providing a beautiful venue for us to gather and dance; and thank you weather gods for sending ideal weather all of which made for a highly successful 4th annual Bayou 'n Boogie dance festival. Francis Farms in Rehoboth, MA was a super spot to hold this intimate festival co-produced by Salīs Production and Lagniappe Productions. These two promoters know how to throw a party.
Like a big family reunion after a long winter, Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer festival season as hundreds of dancers, mainly from the northeast, came together to celebrate the music of Louisiana. Like most young festivals at new locations there are some kinks to be ironed out. Francis Farms did an admirable job providing a decent menu at reasonable prices to an unprecedented event at its facility. Maybe next year the menu could be expanded to include some healthier choices with vegetables and fruits and the kitchen could stay open a little later in the evening. Word is next year, same time, same place and patrons will spread the word about how much fun was enjoyed. This festival is destined to grow but hopefully won't lose its intimate charms.
The line up was great. Skiffle Minstrels, with a selection of Hillbilly, Rockabilly, and Honky-Tonk, were surprisingly danceable for the Zydeco crowd and for the swing dancers in attendance. Freddie King played a couple of enjoyable blues sets giving the dancers a chance to rest their feet some. Magnolia and Al Berard's Cajun Hobos provided the dancers with the traditional two step and waltz Cajun tunes while Lil' Pookie and Andre Theirry traded roles between bass and accordion to fill in the gaps left by Corey Ledet's absence. These young musicians bring their own twist to the traditional Zydeco sounds and together provided three highly charged sets that set the stage for an incredible dance-a-thon all weekend long.
CJ Chenier is a striking figure, tall, well built and impeccably dressed holding that large piano accordion. His sound is classic, handed down from his father the late Clifton Chenier who is considered the King of Zydeco. No one would have guessed the dancers already had been on the floor for a day and a half when CJ's energy compelled the dancers back onto the dance floor. As is his style, CJ paraded around the dance floor while playing a tune kicking the energy up one more notch.
Jeffery Broussard and his Creole Cowboys, with his own style of traditional sound, was a perfect ending to the weekend festivities. His set matched CJs energy and kept the flame high under the dancer's feet. As what happens at many festivals, Jeffery called several of the weekend musicians to the stage and dedicated one sexy, sultry, bluesy tune to CJ with CJ joining him on stage playing rub board. Classic festival moments!
When planning your festival outings for next year, put this one at the top of your list.
Attendance at this festival venue was paid for by the artist.