NOLA venues hail first music festival since the pandemic

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NOLAxNOLA kicks off Thursday night, the first music festival to grace the City of New Orleans since COVID-19 put world on lockdown. Local venue operators are hailing the two-week celebration of New Orleans music, saying it’s the perfect time to resuscitate one of the city’s lodestones.

Tipitinas General Manager Brian Greenberg told WWL that NOLAxNOLA isn’t just about helping out struggling local businesses, it’s about reigniting the fire that pays the bills for the city’s musicians. Greenburg said the famous Uptown venue has begun having musicians back for live shows, and the artists can’t get enough.

“They’re like kids again, they’re like oh my god this is exciting! We forgot that this was the good part of the business, you know?” said Greenburg.

Over in the Bywater, Carnaval Lounge is preparing to welcome back the crowds. Owner Jennifer Johnson spoke with WWL about the city’s need to see the return of live music shows.

“They are one of the heartbeats of New Orleans, without them New Orleans isn’t New Orleans,” said Johnson who added the buzz generated by NOLAxNOLA has led to “brisk” ticket sales at the venue.

Frenchman staple Snug Harbor is ready to invite people back to its intimate gigs. Snug Harbor talent buyer Jason Patterson told WWL venue owners can feel the energy and demand for live music right now.

“We can feel it, we are the boots on the ground as far as how many people are going out and going to clubs, it is the perfect time for this kind of thing to happen,” said Patterson.

COVID protocols are still in place so you’ll need a mask and a vaccination card or proof of a PCR negative test within the last 72 hours to attend the shows over the next two weeks. Greenburg said so far those requirements haven’t been a problem.

“Follow the rules and spend some money, man,” said Greenburg.

The festival runs through October 17th and organizers hope to make it a recurring celebration. You can get a full listing of shows and venues at neworleans.com.