Mirliton Festival: In Praise of the Bywater and Mirlitons

“The key to the Mirliton Festival and the musical lineup is the fact that it is very ‘Bywater-centric’”, says attorney Andrew Bizer, who booked the 22nd annual Mirliton Festival. The annual event at Markey Park on Piety Street in the Bywater is a celebration of Bywater art and culture, and it takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Happy Talk Band

Happy Talk Band

“The focus of the festival is Bywater music,” says Bizer. “We are proud of the fact that we don’t just bring in whoever we think can bring people to pay $5—that’s not the goal. The goal is to celebrate the Bywater and the mirliton, a vegetable everybody likes to eat. It’s just a fun neighborhood party, and we like the music to reflect the neighborhood feel. All of the selected musicians live in the Bywater, record there or play regularly at venues throughout the neighborhood. Kermit Ruffins may be associated with the Treme, but his long-time musical home has been Vaughan’s for the past 15 years.

The lineup also includes the accordion-strapped, bike-riding “Bywater kids” in Tuba Skinny and The Tumbleweeds, as well as Hurray for the Riff Raff, King James and the Special Men, Little Freddie King and Guitar Lightning Lee. Between sets, there will be performances by the NOLA Cherry Bombs, Fringe Festival performers, and the Miss Mirliton Contest.

“Somebody’s gotta celebrate the Mirliton, right?”


The Mirliton Festival will be held on Saturday, November 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, visit BywaterMirlitonFestival.com. Here’s the full schedule of music.

Music Schedule

11 a.m.: the Tumbleweeds

12 p.m.: Tuba Skinny

1 p.m.: Hurray for the Riff Raff

2 p.m.: King James and the Special Men

3:30 p.m.: Happy Talk Band

4:30 p.m.: Little Freddie King and Guitar Lightnin’ Lee

6 p.m.:Kermit Ruffins