Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hot time at Satchmo Summerfest

Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
Last week was one the hottest festivals of the year, to my mind, both in terms of music and weather.

Even as I look forward every year to Satchmo, the first week in August, I have a secret dread because I know the temperature will be sweltering. The event takes place at the Old U.S. Mint, which has been refurbished as a museum. It has a shady side and a sunny side. Obviously, people have gathered under the shade of oak trees until this year when a tent was put up on the French Market side. Still, that blocked some of the minimal breeze.

The lineup is fabulous, assuming you are a fan of traditional jazz, so it is worth sweating while taking periodic breaks to look at old coins and scales inside the museum in order to prevent swooning. Of course, there are always show-offs who swing dance just to prove they are naturally cool and can can't be stopped by a little heat and humidity.

Meschiya Lake, backed up by the Little Big Horns, crooned tunes from the 1930s and '40s before air conditioning was even invented. "Be sure to hydrate," she said. "In between alcoholic beverages."

There were long lines for icy cocktails as well as fruit ice teas and freshly squeezed lemonaide.

Allen Toussaint came out looking like a prince in a beaded white jacket and bowing to the crowds, even those of us hovering outside the wrought iron fence. He proceeded to play the R&B music for which he is famous.

Though not a fan of big oil companies, I will give a special shout-out to Chevron, which helped underwrite this marginally profitable event and even paid for unlimited free pedicabs all weekend - helping both festival-goers and pedicab cyclists.

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