Thousands of dollars in equipment stolen from brass band days before Jazz Fest performance

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Stooges Brass Band is scrambling to get ready for their performance at Jazz Fest on Friday after their van with thousands of dollars worth of gear was stolen in Central City.

“We were practicing here. Everything was good. Working out some new songs because we’re getting ready for Jazz Fest,” said band leader Walter Ramsey. “Roland [Taylor] called me like 6 maybe 6:45 Thursday morning and was like ‘Man the van is gone.’ I was like, what? Whatcha mean gone?”

The Stooges Brass Band members say they were practicing the evening of Wednesday, April 27, at The Rabbit Hole in Uptown until about 10 p.m. The band’s drummer, Roland Taylor, said he parked the van by his mother’s home in Central City, but by early Thursday morning, the van was gone.

“I’m like, the whole van? Like, not the tires, nothing busted out. A whole van just gone,” said Taylor. “I had two drum sets I just purchased [in the van].”

In addition, he said there was an amp, a mic, instrument stands, two keyboards, some personal items, and all of his cymbals.

“I had like 10 cymbals in that case,” he said. “I want to say it was about $1,500 to $2,000 worth of cymbals.”

He said in total, the band lost about $10,000 in gear, including the van.

“Setback is not the word,” said Taylor. “It’s a downfall... it’s coming from having everything to having nothing. Like a hurricane came through and took everything.”

Now the Stooges are scrambling to recover.

Ramsey said now they’re trying to find replacement gear, and borrow from other musicians in New Orleans.

“Our life is in that van. We cannot play music without these instruments,” he said. “We play music that pays for my kids school, you know. Pays for the water bill, the light bill, the rent, the mortgage.”

It’s been a frustrating week for the Stooges while also trying to commit to gigs.

“I can’t let down our fans,” said Ramsey. “And I can’t let down the club owners who are depending on us to be there.”

With no leads on what happened to their van and equipment, the band is trying to stay positive. They’ll continue to play on with a little help from friends.

Fans from near and far are pitching in to help the band recover. Click here for the GoFundMe.

“We trying to work. That’s all. We just wanna play. That’s all. We just wanna play and have fun,” said Ramsey.

The Stooges Brass Band is determined to play all upcoming shows, including a performance this Friday, May 6, on the Congo Square Stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

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