Once again, it’s time for the Best of the Beat Awards on January 22 at the House of Blues, and we hope you can attend to eat great food, mingle with the music community and listen to some fabulous music (check out OffBeat.com for the latest on who’s playing). This event was created to give our local musicians—and music people behind the scenes who support local music—accolades that they sorely need. It makes everyone feel good to be appreciated, and that’s what OffBeat resolves to be about. We think our musicians are the greatest in the world and we want everyone to know about it.
I’m particularly pleased to be able to honor “Deacon” John Moore. This man and his band have played local events and parties since I was a teenager. He said to me recently, “Why are you honoring me? I haven’t really done anything like getting a big record out, and I’m not famous.” Well, Deac, you’re one of the mainstays of the New Orleans music scene and your expertise on the guitar and in the music business is something many other musicians try to emulate. What talent!
We’re also thrilled to be able to give an award in Music Business to the “quintessential” impresario who has done so much for the local music scene: Quint Davis, Executive Producer of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, along with numerous other events. Quint and his team started the Jazz Fest from nothing and have grown it to be one the largest and arguably the most visible music event in Louisiana. At the same time, he’s been able to expose more of our music to listeners around the world that any single person in New Orleans history. The Jazz Fest has launched many a musician’s career, and put New Orleans music on the contemporary world music map.
Barry Ancelet is almost the Cajun equivalent of Davis; he is a respected student and teacher of Cajun culture, a professor, folklorist, author and musician. Ancelet was the co-founder of 1974’s “Tribute to Cajun Music,” which became the annual Festivals Acadiens. He was the first director of University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Center for Acadian and Creole Folklore, which is the largest compilation of media resources on this indigenous Louisiana culture. We salute you, Dr. Ancelet, for your persistence and success in documenting and passing on the traditions of the Louisiana Cajun and Creole cultures.
Finally, there’s Threadhead Records. Born of a bunch of Jazz Fest fanatics who frequented the Jazz Fest message board, Threadhead Records represents fans putting their money where their mouths are. The Threadheads have helped fi nance numerous local recordings and demonstrate social entrepreneurship at its best.
We hope that you will evaluate the candidates running for mayor of New Orleans and choose the one who will support and promote these precious resources both within the city and as a brand to promote New Orleans. MusicSwingsVotes.org will sponsor a mayoral forum at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall on Monday January 11 at 6:30 p.m. with this specific goal in mind. The event is free and open to the public. Please come, listen to the candidates, get informed and involved in revolutionizing our great city.