NOLAxNOLA, first club-based music festival in the country, starts Oct. 7

The concert series is looking to bring back some excitement despite fall festival cancellations.
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It’s said in the City of New Orleans, music isn’t a noun-- it’s a verb. And it’s one that people are missing, especially the musicians and those who bring them to the stage.

“We were like, what can we do to save this?” said Branden Kempt, owner of Gasa Gasa music club. The last year and a half has been challenging for himself and countless others in the music industry with the ongoing pandemic and a major hurricane halting musical performances.

But now there’s something to look forward to with the creation of NOLAxNOLA-- the first club-based music festival in the country set right here in New Orleans.

“We have been so excited about these 2 - 3 weeks of just nothing but ticketed shows. It feels like the fruition of, you know, months of work,” he said.

The NOLAxNOLA event will help showcase acts big and small and keep clubs like Gasa Gasa’s doors open.

“We’ve had Big Freedia on this stage like you know there’s this is the right stage for all kinds of different things and different features,” said Kempt. “I just felt so grateful for this concept because we’ve been able to hang on to all of our bookings and we have 20 days in a row of ticketed shows.”

A coalition of venues and musicians are uniting in this effort, something that was born after the cancellation of Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest, to help one another stay afloat.

Now, this October, New Orleans culture bearers say they are making a comeback. More than 200 shows are scheduled over the two-week span at 35 music venues across the city.

More: NOLAxNOLA to feature more than 170 acts across 20 music venues to fill vacuum of canceled Jazz Fest

“How were we gonna save the music? How were we gonna keep the music shows going?” said J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, who is partnering with the music venues and musicians and marketing the event. “Nobody was more damaged than musicians and club owners.”

Club owners like Tipitina’s Stanton Moore, who is also the drummer for the band Galactic.

“It’s good for people’s souls to get out and have that exchange of joy which is live music and having it performed in front of you and then giving that energy back to the musicians. There’s nothing like that,” said Moore.

They’re ready to play-- they’ve been ready-- and it all starts this week on Thursday, October 7.

“I think people really miss it and now we’re able to hopefully get back to it and really share that with everyone,” he said.

NOLAxNOLA is the recovery many musicians and club owners were anticipating. The hope is for the series to continue for years to come, even after the big spring and fall festivals return.

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