Deacon John, Donald Harrison, Kermit Ruffins and the Rebirth Brass Band are among the more than 40 musicians who will honor Louis Armstrong at the 2015 Satchmo SummerFest, presented by Chevron.
On Tuesday, festival organizers announced the talent that will play at the Old U.S. Mint festival the weekend of July 30-Aug. 2, including Jewel Brown, a singer in Armstrong’s band in the 1960s.
This year’s festival also includes an all-star tribute to Armstrong led by Harrison, plus a tribute by Corey Henry’s Treme Funktet to Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill, who died May 4 from an infection that set in while he was in Japan.
The full lineup and schedule are online at fqfi.org, which also has information about the festival’s special screening of the 1956 film “High Society” — which featured Armstrong — and the Satchmo Seminars, whvere journalists and Armstrong experts talk about Satchmo and his world.
Brown will remember Armstrong in a session at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.
Earlier this summer, Satchmo SummerFest made news when it became the first of the festivals presented by French Quarter Festival Inc. to announce it will charge for admission. Attending the festival will cost $5 a day this year, which executive producer Marci Schramm said will help to defray costs.
“Satchmo SummerFest doesn’t make money,” she said. “It barely pays for itself. The business model of the free festival in the case of Satchmo needs to change a bit.”
According to Schramm, organizers have wanted to expand the festival by adding other venues in the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny and bringing in prominent national talent that would broaden the festival’s appeal.
They’ve been unable to do either because of a lack of resources.
“We thought that $5 was a pretty nominal fee considering what you get,” Schramm said.
She said charging people to attend Satchmo SummerFest isn’t a way to test the waters for admission fees for her group’s other festivals, but that she understands the charge is out of step with New Orleans’ tradition of free festivals.
“We knew it was going to start a conversation, but I couldn’t believe $5 could start this much conversation,” she said.