Tasty Louisiana music all weekend long at Jersey’s Crawfish Fest

The legendary Dr. John headlines the final night of the Crawfish Fest, May 31.

The legendary Dr. John headlines the final night of the Crawfish Fest, May 31.

Crawfish Fest founder and producer Michael Arnone doesn’t just spend all year working on the annual festival. By the end of each year’s fest, he’s already thinking about the next one.

“We start Sunday night, at the show,” he says. “We’ll take notes about what people liked and what they didn’t like. And we just try to improve.”

The 26th annual Crawfish Fest takes place this weekend, from Friday night through Sunday night, at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta. (The Friday night entertainment is only for those who will be camping at the site). The music, as usual, highlights Louisiana music, including Cajun and zydeco music, and New Orleans R&B.

Performers will include Dr. John, Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, plus Jersey-based groups such as the roots-rock group From Good Homes, and The Matt Angus Thing, who will team with Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem for an early Sunday set.

Arnone says the event’s musical flavor stays “about the same” from year to year, with many returning acts. “We’ll have usually four or five Cajun and zydeco bands, and then we’ll round it out with R&B and blues,” he says.

MARC BROUSSARD

MARC BROUSSARD

“You know, we’ve got Marc Broussard coming (this year). We’ve never had Marc, and we’re excited about him. Usually it’s the same kind of mix, just different bands. But you know, there’s not a million of ’em, from Louisiana, so they come back from time to time.”

The time it takes to stay in touch with new artists, and make sure some of the best are added, is one of the reasons this is a full-time job for Arnone. He cites as one of the most notable new artists on this year’s bill Mississippi-born bluesman Jarekus Singleton.

“I really didn’t know who he was,” Arnone says. “But his agent said, ‘Mike, you really need to hire this guy.’ And this year he was up for all kinds of awards. The guy really told me the truth.”

And, of course, the food remains a major part of the festival’s appeal, with dishes such as boiled crawfish, jambalaya, po’ boys (oyster, shrimp, catfish or roast beef), crawfish bread, catfish tacos and crawfish étouffé.

“One of our secret off-the-menu items is, you get the fried catfish, and then you take it to the étouffée booth, and you have ’em pour the étouffée over the catfish po’ boy,” says Arnone. “Oh my God, talk about good. We don’t advertise that, but people ask for that.”

Arnone lives in Baton Rouge, but has been in New Jersey since early May, and won’t leave until after the festival is over, in early June.

“I’m ready to go back home, sleep in my own bed,” he says. “Don’t nobody call me for a week!”

Here is the festival’s schedule. For information, visit crawfishfest.com.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS

MAY 29

Jager Pavilion Stage (for campers only)
5 p.m.: Stooges Brass Band
7 p.m.: The Lost Bayou Ramblers
9 p.m.: New Orleans Suspects

MAY 30

Main Stage
11:30 a.m.:
Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
1 p.m.: Honey Island Swamp Band
2:30 p.m.: From Good Homes
5 p.m.: Anders Osborne

Jager Pavilion Stage
11:30 a.m.: Gas House Gorillas
1 p.m.: Stooges Brass Band
3 p.m.: Raw Oyster Cult
5:15 p.m.: Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers
9 p.m. (for campers only): John Papa Gros Band

Dance Hall
11 a.m.: Cajun dance lessons
12:15 p.m.: Jesse Lége & Bayou Brew
2:45 p.m.: C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band
5:30 p.m.: Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
8 p.m. (for campers only): Samantha Fish
10:30 p.m. (for campers only): The Heard

Workshop Stage
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Face painting
1 p.m.: Workshop with Katie Henry
2:45 p.m.: Workshop with Geno Delafose

JAREKUS SINGLETON

JAREKUS SINGLETON

MAY 31

Main Stage
11:30 a.m.: C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band
1 p.m.: Jarekus Singleton
2:30 p.m.: George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners
5 p.m.: Dr. John

Jager Pavilion Stage
11:30 a.m.: The Matt Angus Thing with Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem.
1 p.m.: Nikki Hill
3 p.m.: Marc Broussard
5:15 p.m.: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

Dance Hall
11 a.m.: Cajun dance lessons
12:30 p.m.: Jesse Lége & Bayou Brew
2:30 p.m.: Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys
5 p.m.: C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band

Workshop Stage
11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Face painting
1 p.m.: Workshop with Rosie Ledet
2:45 p.m.: Workshop with C.J. Chenier

One thought on “Tasty Louisiana music all weekend long at Jersey’s Crawfish Fest

  1. Pingback: 'Crawfishin',' Tab Benoit live at 2013 Crawfish Fest - NJArts.netNJArts.net

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