New Orleans soul meets bodacious barbecue
WESTPORT—The smell of simmering slow-cooked barbecue and the soothing sounds of New Orleans jazz will fill the air for the ninth annual Blues, Views & BBQ Festival at the Levitt Pavilion on Sept. 3 and 4.
Bob LeRose, owner of Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ & Grill, started the popular festival when he got involved with the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and wanted to bring some spirit to downtown.
“I felt like if you’re going to be a member of downtown, you should take an active role in doing things. I thought bringing a music festival to downtown would be a great thing,” LeRose said.
Although Bobby Q’s left downtown Westport in March after 11 years, LeRose continues to play an integral role in the festival.
In addition to featuring about 19 hours of performances by accomplished artists like the Funky Meters, Anders Osborne and the Revivalists, the two-day affair provides families with a chance to experience music, two barbecue competitions, a number of food and drink options and games for children.
When it comes to the jazz, Saturday will feature a mix of regional music, along with New Orleans-based artists.
“We focused a lot on New Orleans music,” LeRose said. “A lot of our artists have played at New Orleans jazz fest. Marc Broussard, Anders Osborne and the Funky Meters are all from New Orleans; all are regular performers at New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival.”
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Anders Osborne is looking forward to rocking the Levitt.
“This festival is one of my favorite. We’ve played it for several years, and I’ve watched it grow as they have watch me grow,” Osborne said. “I’m going to bring a high-energy rock ‘n’ roll show, four-piece band: two guitars, bass and drums. Maybe strip it down for one beautiful acoustic song — can’t wait!”
LeRose said this year, the Sunday lineup will mix in a wider variety of music.
“This year, both days are more of a mix of blues and New Orleans funk and soul, whereas in previous years, Saturday would be more funk and rock ‘n’ roll and Sunday was traditional blues,” he said. “We’re mixing up Sunday a lot more now.”
David Shaw, lead vocalist for the New Orleans-based rock band The Revivalists, said people can expect a lively performance on Sunday.
“Every show is different, so we really try to create the mood per song. We want to take you into the mood when the song was written. Expect the unexpected,” Shaw said. “They’re going to get an honest show full of energy and love.”
The festival will take place both days from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“The festival is more than just the music. It has a ton to do for the kids. We have a bunch of interactive things that appeal to the kids, if you’re looking for more than just the music. If you want to just come and eat, you can do that,” LeRose said.