Bayou Boogaloo Norfolk


When most New Orleanians hear “Bayou Boogaloo” they typically think of one of our favorite springtime festivals, conjuring up sweet memories of Bayou St. John, party “floatillas,” and our favorite Southeastern Louisiana musicians playing until the sun sets. So it might come as a surprise to locals that there is indeed another Bayou Boogaloo – with a 20-year history – every June in Norfolk, Virginia.

Norfolk Festevents, longtime friends of the Arts Council New Orleans, is the incredible production team behind the other Bayou Boogaloo, working tirelessly each year to bring some of the best parts of New Orleans to Virginia. Offerings include tasty traditional Cajun fare, stellar musicians native to the Crescent City and the Gulf South, and of course amazing works of art and craftsmanship made by some of our finest creative talents.

Our connection with Bayou Boogaloo began almost a decade ago when Dominick Fini, Festevents’ VP of sales, reached out to the Arts Council in search of Louisiana artisans to add to their festival experience. “Our partnership with the Arts Council of New Orleans has taken Bayou Boogaloo to a new level. The doors that have been opened for us help make Bayou Boogaloo the most authentic New Orleans-style music and food festival north of Louisiana,” says Fini. For ten years the Arts Council has helped bring more than 20 Louisiana-based artists annually to Norfolk to sell their work including photography, sculpture, jewelry, and everything in between.

Festevents might be native to Virginia, but they have New Orleans in their hearts, which is apparent on the festival grounds in downtown Norfolk, right along the waterfront. During the three-day festival Abita beer flows like water and approximately 40,000 pounds of crawfish are consumed by the masses. The main bar on the festival grounds has lovingly been dubbed “Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Bar” and features the best parts of the locals-only haunt. This weekend festival-goers can look forward to music by Hot 8 Brass Band, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Grammy-winning Cajun ensemble Feaufollet, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation.

This year, our beloved Guardians of the Groove, WWOZ has decided to join the Arts Council for the journey north and are the official sponsors of the “Missing Kidney” tent. Dimitri Apessos, membership Director for WWOZ says, “We’ve been hearing about this event from musicians, cooks, and artists for years. We are so glad we finally got to come. It’s pretty surreal. So many people from South Louisiana in one place in Virginia. It’s very easy to forget where you are. We are so thankful to the City of Norfolk and the Arts Council for doing such a good job promoting Louisiana culture this far from Louisiana.”