LOCAL

Big music coming to Jambalaya Festival

Wade McIntyre

Music will be bigger with more variety than ever at the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales May 21-24.

“We’re gonna have a bunch of music this year,” Jambalaya Festival Association President Wally Taillon promised Thursday.

Headlining 17 groups at the festival will be the Chee-Weez, and Luther Kent and Chris LeBlanc. Kent and LeBlanc are appearing at the festival for the first time ever.

“I was always in favor of swamp pop music because it’s in the area and what we’re famous for,” Taillon said. “But, now you have so many people that like different types of music, so we tried to open it up this year.”

A lot of people have expressed concerns to him about the economy and the effect it may have on the festival, but Taillon said he is not worried.

The Jambalaya Festival charges no admission, and he thinks the free event will attract even more people if the economy is down a bit.

“Anytime a person likes music and doesn’t want to listen to 17 good bands for free, something’s wrong,” he said.

While speaking with New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival officials last week, Taillon, who operates a jambalaya booth at the event, said he was told the festival has already sold 10,000 more tickets to the festival than they had at this time last year.

He thinks the Jambalaya Festival will bring a good crowd, too, maybe even do more buisiness than normal because of the music lineup and people wanting to attend a popular, inexpensive festival when the economy is slow.

The festival is seen largely as a local event, but visitors come each year from surrounding parishes and even round the country in recreational vehicles.

Taillon said the crowd pleasing jambalaya big pot contest will return again this year.

“We’re also going to have some young groups who aren’t that well known who want to try out their playing in front of the crowds,” he said. “They will be playing at the Budweiser stage by the cooking area.”

Other headliners at the festival are: Foret Tradition, Mojeaux, Fly by Nite, Kane Glaze, Mark Babin, Lil Bayou Band, Ampersand, James Brett, Gas House Gorillas, Killing Time, Kenny Cornett, Kenny Fife & BACTRAC with Steve & Mike Broussard, Billboard, Water’s Edge, Bag of Donuts, Clif Nickens and Aaron Foret.