Friday, July 30, 2010

Upcoming Zydeco Trips

Thanks to Dick Brainard's endless energy for coordinating Zydeco trips here are a few coming up that will be some jolly good times! I did New Years last year and had a blast... Basically when your not sleeping or eating you bounce between the different music events going on all day every day. If you have never done a Cajun/Zydeco festival in Louisiana I would pick Festival Acadiens first.

Festivals Acadiens

Web Site:
We now have a block of 15 rooms at the Holiday Inn on Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette for Festivals Acadiens for $79/night for the nights of Oct. 8-9-10. This is the least costly rate in town for this event for a 4-star hotel. Call the Holiday Inn at 337-233-6815 & ask for the Festivals Acadiens Zydeco Group Rate. Once they are gone, they are gone--I could only get 15 rooms.
The plan is to fly into New Orleans on Thursday for the Rock 'n' Bowl, then up to Lafayette for dance venues Friday night, Cafe des Amis Sat morning, the fest Saturday afternoon, dance venues that night, the fest Sunday, then Vermilionville zydeco dance, Whiskey River zydeco & Pat's Atchafalaya Club Cajun/zydeco dance. I got a room at the 4-star Sheraton in Metaire halfway between downtown & the airport (near the Rock 'n' Bowl) for $55 + tax for Thursday the 7th. on Type in MSY & click on the 4-star rate.

New Year's Zydeco Trip
We will be staying at the 4-star Holiday Inn on Evangeline Thruway just south of I-10 for New Year's weekend. The rate will be $59/night/room with continental breakfast. The Holiday Inn has an indoor heated pool, hot tub & sauna, laundry room, bar & restaurant, & free USA Today at your door. Rooms are laid out around a large central courtyard, so you can park in front of your room. A classy place! To reserve, call 337-233-6815 & ask for the New Year's Zydeco Group Rate. You can cancel up to a few weeks before--but call early to be sure to reserve at the group rate.
Many will fly into New Orleans Thusday, Dec. 30 for the Rock 'n' Bowl dance, then up to Lafayette for the New Year's Eve dance with Geno Delafose at Vermilionville. Other dance venues will be published as time draws closer. We plan to work with Troy Carrier & Wayne to have bands at the Offshore Lounge in Lawtell, and with Susan at Angelle's Whiskey River Landing for Geno on Sunday. And Deb Waldman will likely have her large annual gathering on New Year's Day. Some will have to will fly home Sunday, others on Monday, Jan. 3.
For a hotel in New Orleans, I use Type in either MSY (New Orleans Airport), or New Orleans Downtown, depending on where you wish to stay. I am staying at the 4-star Sheraton in Metaire halfway between downtown and the airport for $54 + tax & fee (two beds). Parking is free. The Rock 'n' Bowl is only 3-4 miles. For dinner before the dance, try Ye Olde College Inn which John (owner of the R n B) also owns--adjacent to the R n B.

Mardi Gras 2011

The Holiday Inn on Evangeline Thruway has given us a block of 15 rooms for March 4-5-6-7 (or longer) at $69/night. The plan for Mardi Gras is to fly into New Orleans, Thursday, Mar. 3 for the Rock 'n' Bowl dance, then up to Lafayette for the weekend and Mardi Gras Day (Tuesday, Mar. 8) in Iota, Mamou & Eunice. Again check for a good hotel in New Orleans, Thursday night, Mar. 3.

If your interested in more details just email Dick at (hisfirstnamelastname)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brian Jack Latest CD - You Don't Know Jack

Thank to the endless hours of recording time Brian Jack has recently released a new CD called "You Don't Know Jack". The album has many of the tunes with tempos that dancers have come to get addicted to. My favorite tracks #7 Baby Don't Go, a snappy little upbeat tune that drives your feet to the slow quick quick zydeco montra in a wonderful way.

The CD starts with a short audio comment saying "If they going to hate on you, let them hate on you, cause really they ain't worth your time". Interesting beginning comment and while I am don't know for sure, I am guessing it has something to do with the dog eat dog environment of being a top Zydeco artist in Louisiana and Texas these days. It takes a lot of courage to keep pushing it and bringing forward the great energy in Zydeco that we all have come to love.

You can listen to samples of all the tracks at the following link and if you like the tunes, support the artist and buy the CD :)

If you don't have any of Brian's CD's I would get the Best of Brian Jack at the link below...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Portland Festival - Zydeco and Blues

First visit to the Portland Blues (and Zydeco) festival in downtown Portland. What a great event and place to play for a fourth of July weekend retreat!

This video clip has Curley Taylor pumping out the Zydeco tunes while Lilli Ann and her daughter dance on stage. It was very cool that Curley had many dancers up there while he was playing during his set.

There were pleanty of dancers from most of the west coast as well as some good Cajun/Zydeco bands to dance to.

Here is a little video clip of a little zydeco dance demonstration we did at the festival:

If you can go in a day or two before the festival starts I would recommend it as there is plenty of stuff to keep you busy around downtown.

Portland has a great cheap transportation system to get you to and from the airport at just about any time. It cost $3.00 each way for the 40 minute direct ride that drops you right downtown. Free trams in the downtown area can take you all over downtown for free.

Here are a few of the things I checked out and would recommend if you get a chance to do the festival.

Portland Walking Tours - There are many tours to choose from and the one I did was very good.

Washington Park - Great walking park with a huge garden and tons of areas to explore. Take the tram to the park and back for very cheap.
Portland Saturday and Sunday Market - Great market with tons of stalls and food vendors to keep you busy for several hours.

Powell's City of Books store - Largest book store that I have ever been in ... amazing...

Portland Food Carts - There are over 500 around the entire city and downtown has a ton as well. Don't discount food carts as bad fast food... several great restaraunts started as food carts in Portland.

Bar and Food - The Veritable Quandary was a great little bar and restaraunt right next to the festival to catch a beer or bite for a little break from the festival or after as a few of us enjoyed the place.

Marriot Downtown Waterfront which is where many people stayed... or you can go the el-cheapo way that I did at the Downtown Value Inn.

Downtown Value Inn - AAE
The hotel I stayed at was $55/night which is half the price of any standard hotel. The reviews were very mixed so I was a little worried. For those who need a pampered room with expectations of the Marriot or other hotels you need to not stay here, but if you compare it to any well used Motel 6 I would say it is about the same. There was free internet, a great little pizza place and bar next door and a TV, microwave and phone in each room. Yes it was older but the area of downtown was the college area which was nice and it was about 5 blocks walk to the Blues festival which was great. One block from the free downtown tram. I would stay there again.

Great festival and looking forward to possibly checking it out next year..

Here is a little video clip of the dance floor pumping...