Johnny gets his Lifetime Achievement Award, Photo: Willow Haley

Best of The Beat Is
A Beautiful Thing

Last Wednesday evening, we presented the annual OffBeat Music & Cultural Arts Foundation’s Best of The Beat Lifetime Achievement Awards and Music Business Awards at the Orpheum Theater.

This is really my favorite event of the year, second only to the Best of The Beat Music Awards show on Thursday evening this week.

The Music Awards are really fun; musicians show up and network; people who haven’t seen each other for a bit get a chance to hang out, drink and party. We have the awards early (from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. or thereabouts) because we know that musicians have gigs to play and we’d rather give them the opportunity to be there, than not. This is an event that was created to honor them. We only started inviting the public, and selling tickets, about 15 years ago, because music lovers—fans—vote for the winners, and we love to give them a good party.

But: the Lifetime Achievement Awards and Music Business Awards are for the people who are sort of “insiders.” I can’t think of another event anywhere in Louisiana that honors the people behind the scenes: the recording studios, the managers, music clubs, music club owners, attorneys, promoters, booking agencies, record labels, festivals, non-profits, etc. The musicians make the music, but the music businesses make the music possible for the public to enjoy. They deserve props too!

Our Lifetime Achievement presentations are also precious to me. It means so much to be able to honor musicians and people in the music community for their entire careers. It gives us a lot of pleasure and is so gratifying to demonstrate tangibly that these people are cared for, appreciated, venerated and deserving of our deepest respect.

To that end, these awards have been traditionally closed to the public, but you can get an idea of what went on last Wednesday night at the Orpheum. I wish I had a copy of Sonny Schneidau’s acceptance speech (absolutely lovely), or we had a video of the entire event (maybe next year?), but we did commission a tribute video for our Lifetime in Music Achievement recipient, Johnny Vidacovich. It’s priceless.

Hope to see you this Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at Generations Hall: food from 20 restaurants, music from Valerie Sassyfras, Khris Royal and Dark Matter, Mia Borders, Naughty Professor, the Fortifiers with special guest Bobby Rush, the Soul Brass Band, an all-star tribute to Johnny Vidacovich, the awards and lots of music community love and fun.

Would you be interested in attending next year’s Lifetime Achievement and Music Business Awards? Take our poll and get a chance to win tickets to the Experience Hndrix Tour at the Saenger Theater on March 15.