From May 17 through 19, the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo returns to the banks of Bayou St. John, but this year will be different from years past. Festival organizers have announced the festival will no longer be free, carrying a new $10 admission fee.
Festival producer Jared Zeller, as reported by NOLA.com, says the ticket price is necessary to cover a land use fee the city is charging Bayou Boogaloo. Zeller reportedly only found out about the fee, which “would increase to roughly six times what Bayou Boogaloo had been charged in the past two years,” a month ago. According to the report, “Zeller said he ‘debated and negotiated,’ but in the end the festival was faced with a roughly $70,000 shortfall in 2019, making admission necessary.”
Beau Tidwell, City Commissioner, explains in the report ““the City is required by the Louisiana Constitution to charge fair market value for any use of public land for a private purpose. City staff invited Mr. Zeller to present the public purpose served by the event to offset the fee, however Mr. Zeller chose to pursue a different type of agreement that allows for restricting access and charging admission.”
“Restricting access” translates to fencing the festival site, which Zeller reportedly refused to do. “As in past years, he said, barricades will guide visitors on the lake side of the bayou toward 4 entrance gates. The only fencing fest-goers will encounter is the usual barrier erected behind the main stage, he said,” reports NOLA.com’s Doug MacCash.
The newly instituted admission fee echoes a change made during the 2018 festival, when $5 was charged for folks arriving after 3 p.m. on Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s Bayou Boogaloo lineup includes OffBeat cover star Valerie Sassyfras, plus Erica Falls, Angelo Moore and The Brand New Step, Tribal Gold, Cowboy Mouth, SOUL Brass Band and many more. Click here for the full stage schedules for the three-day festival. For more information on festival tickets, click here.