On the outskirts of LSU’s campus is a street steeped in creative history. For decades, its abundance of bars have seen local performers find a home among the Baton Rouge music and arts scene. West Chimes Street continues to celebrate these talents at the 12th annual North Gate Music & Arts Fest.
Hosted by the North Gate Merchants Association, the free outdoor concert and makers fair runs from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday on West Chimes Street from Highland Road to Lake Street. This year's festival features two stages — the Abita main stage will feature performances from original bands such as Alabaster Stag and Water Seed; the Raising Cane’s singer-songwriter stage will showcase more intimate solo performances. An Arts Village will showcase nearly 30 local artisans.
Clarke Cadzow, owner of Highland Coffees and one of the founding members of the festival, said the goal is to celebrate the unique history of the North Gate community.
“Since the mid-1920s, North Gate has been the second oldest continually operating commercial and residential neighborhood in Baton Rouge," he said. "The neighborhood has been the center of off-campus life for the LSU community since that time.”
To pay homage to that history, the organizers will project a slideshow of cool, funky and historic photos onto a wall throughout the festival. These images create a scrapbook showing how West Chimes Street has changed over time.
Festival organizer Beth Zagurski said it’s that history that creates such a successful event.
“We feature what makes Baton Rouge unique, from music to art to jewelry to the overall vibe,” she said. “It’s a time to honor the roots of the North Gates. The street is alive with people from all eras of Chimes Street thoroughly enjoying themselves and enjoying the music. The vibe of North Gate Fest has been likened to attending a festival in Austin or Asheville. It’s a diverse and creative event.”
Along with art vendors and musical performances, food will be on hand from some of area eateries including Louie's Cafe and The Chimes. An Abita Brewery beer truck will provide libations.
West Chimes Street has long been an area of the city known for its character. Members of the North Gate Merchants Association hope that events such as these continue to promote the creative expression associated with its name.
“When a city loses its historical fibers, it loses its character,” Zagurski said. “There is something to be said for supporting the places that have lots of stories attached to them.”
North Gate Fest
WHEN: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday
WHERE: The North Gates of LSU, at the intersection of Chimes Street and Highland Road
Abita main stage
5 p.m.: Baton Rouge Music Studios
6 p.m.: Hydraplane
7:15 p.m.: Particle Devotion
8:30 p.m.: Alabaster Stag
9:50 p.m.: Water Seed
Raising Cane’s singer-songwriter stage
5 p.m.: Billy Callaway
5:30 p.m.: Saher Khan
6 p.m.: Rebecca Hill
6:30 p.m.: Christina Ocmand
7 p.m.: Clara Bryan
7:30 p.m.: Nick Rains
8 p.m.: Brennan Breaux