Crawfish Fest weekend: Preview and schedule


The Fabulous Thunderbirds, led by Kim Wilson (center), will perform at the Crawfish Fest at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, June 3.

There’s probably no one right now paying more attention to the weather forecast right now, in the state of New Jersey, than Michael Arnone, who will present his 28th annual Crawfish Fest at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, June 2-4. Attendance could be anywhere from 8,000 to 17,000, he says, depending mainly on how the skies look.

And right now, the weather is looking pretty good — cool and clear on June 2 and 3, with possibly some rain developing late on June 4 (but, with any luck, it holding off until the festival is over).

“It’s all about the weather,”says Arnone, who lives in Baton Rouge but spends much of May and early June in New Jersey each year. “If it was easy, anybody could do it. If you were guaranteed you were going to make money every single year, there would be a million festivals.”

As everyone knows, we don’t have a million festivals, and the Crawfish Fest is a one-of-a-kind event, at least in New Jersey — an opportunity to immerse yourself in Louisiana music, and Louisiana food, with more than 30 sets of music in four performance areas. About 1,500 campers will stay overnight on Friday and/or Saturday, and there will be music, open to campers and VIPs only, late on Friday and Saturday. (see schedule below)

The music isn’t all from Louisiana, actually. One of the co-headliner this year, for instance, is The Fabulous Thunderbirds, who hail from Texas. “When I was in high school, ‘Tuff Enuff’ was one of the songs that we love,” says Arnone. “So we’re really excited.”


Other on the bill include the Brooklyn-based Americana band Yarn, and The New Stew, an all-star group led by Corey Glover (of Living Colour) on vocals and Roosevelt Collier (of The Lee Boys) on pedal steel and lap steel guitars. Many other acts, though, are stalwarts of the Louisiana music scene: Anders Osborne, Tab Benoit, the Rebirth Brass Band, Charles Neville (of the Neville Brothers), Terrance Simien, Geno Delafose, Henry Butler and so on.

Though it lasts just three days, Crawfish Fest is, for Arnone, a year-round job.

“Every year, we tweak,” he says. “We’ll start that Sunday night (after the last band): Whoever’s left, right before we all go home, we’ll talk about what we liked, what we didn’t like. Monday, we’re picking everything up. By noon, I’m headed to Baton Rouge. And on the way home — it’ll take me three or four days, because I don’t get in a big hurry — I’m calling everyone: ‘What did you like? What didn’t you like? What do we need to improve?’ ”

Here is this year’s schedule. Asterisks (*) denote sets for campers and VIPs only. For information, visit


Pavilion Stage
5 p.m.: Darcy Malone and the Tangle (*)
7 p.m.: Mason Ruffner (*)
9 p.m.: Henry Butler’s Jambalaya Band (*)


Main Stage
11:30 a.m.: Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience
1 p.m.: Alexis P. Suter Band
2:45 p.m.: Tab Benoit
5 p.m.: The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson


Pavilion Stage
11:30 a.m.: John the Martyr
1 p.m.: Yarn
3 p.m.: Cabinet
5:30 p.m.: Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience
9 p.m.: Little Freddie King (*)

Dance Hall
11 a.m.: Cajun dance lessons
12:15 p.m.: Feufollet
2:45 p.m.: Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
5:15 p.m.: Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys
8 p.m.: Feufollet (*)
10:30 p.m.: The New Stew featuring Corey Glover and Roosevelt Collier (*)

Workshop Stage
11 a.m.: Face painting
1 p.m.: Terrance Simien workshop
2:45 p.m.: John Ginty Band workshop and performance


Main Stage
11:30 a.m.: Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie
1 p.m.: John Papa Gros Band
2:45 p.m.: Rebirth Brass Band
5 p.m.: Anders Osborne

Pavilion Stage
11:30 a.m.: Krystal A. Livingston
1 p.m.: Nick Moss Band
3 p.m.: Maggie Koerner
5:15 p.m.: Charles “Hornman” Neville

Dance Hall
11 a.m.: Cajun dance lessons
12:15 p.m.: Feufollet
2:30 p.m.: Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
5 p.m.: Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie

Workshop stage
11 a.m.: Face painting
1 p.m.: Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
2:45 p.m.: John Gros workshop

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter