Carencro’s Marc Broussard and Texas blues singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster will headline the schedule on Saturday, while Cowboy Mouth and Givers, both from Louisiana, are set to close out the fest on Sunday. The full lineup mostly features artists of the Bayou, Acadiana and New Orleans regions, such as brass funk-sters Bonerama and The Upstarts, and seasoned “Y’at Rock” group Creole String Beans, all of whom play on Saturday.
Louisiana French band Isle Dernière will officially kick off the weekend’s entertainment at 11 a.m. from the Boudin Bayou Stage at Barrow and Main streets. They lead a lineup of seven bands that includes locals Beau Porche and The Backstabbers, The Risen and Uprising, as well as brothers Joe and David Stark, who make up the nationally-signed rock duo, Baby Bee. Baby Bee will be followed by their pal and touring partner Broussard; his soulful voice will serenade crowds at 8:45 p.m.
The second Gulf Groove Stage, north-side on Main near Grinage Street, opens at noon Saturday with folk-country singer Clay Parker of Thibodaux. Parker will be followed by local favorites Hurricane Levee Band and Voodoo Bayou. The award-winning Foster and her band will then take the stage at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday’s schedule begins at 11:30 a.m., with Houma’s St. Lucy Gospel Choir and Nonc Nu and Da’ Wild Matous on opposing stages. Nonc Nu, a zydeco-country-rock-infused band from Thibodaux, will be followed by more bayou boys — Don Rich and Bandit on the Gulf Groove Stage. New Orleans rhythm-and-blues act Al “Lil Fats” Jackson will follow Bandit at 4 p.m. Fellow New Orleanians and national hit-makers Cowboy Mouth will close out that stage at 5:45 p.m. Through 15 years and almost as many albums, Cowboy Mouth has entertained more than 9 million people in their “legendary” live shows, according to the band’s official website.
Rounding out the fest lineup on the Boudin Bayou Stage are rising star and Houma native, blues guitarist Josh Garrett, and the top two winners of the Center Stage Singing Competition, a local version of the wildly popular TV show “American Idol.” Festival-goers will also be treated to the traditional jazz-swing sounds of Louisiana quintet Red Stick Ramblers and the quirky swamp-jangle of Austin’s The Gourds.
The inaugural Best of the Bayou will officially come to a close with the help of upbeat indie rockers, Givers, hailing from Lafayette and quickly making a name for themselves on the national music scene. Givers will headline the Boudin Bayou Stage at 6:45 p.m. Their most recent claim to fame was the cover of their song “Up Up Up” by the cast of another hit show, “Glee,” in April.
Houma attorney and music columnist David Norman, a member of the festival’s entertainment committee, said of the lineup, “I am impressed with its strength and diversity, to put it mildly. Local bands can only be helped by the exposure this lineup of better-known acts, such as Givers, The Gourds, Ruthie Foster and others — will produce.” In keeping with the true mission of the festival, he said, “Outside folks appreciating our indigenous culture equals increased tourism which accomplishes our mission.”
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The festival will also feature food from some of the area’s top chefs and eateries, as well as a festival marketplace showcasing local art and handmade crafts.
The entire band schedule is available on the festival’s website www.bestofthebayou.org. The event is presented by Rouses Markets.