In October, OffBeat.com reported on the return of Hogs for the Cause’s annual cook-off and music festival, whose lineup included artists such as Naughty Professor and George Porter Jr, as well as Railroad Earth and Shovels & Rope. The 2017 installment was a huge success, taking over UNO’s Lakefront Arena and raising a considerable amount of money for children battling cancer. But next year’s event, Hogs X, will be a true milestone as it marks the tenth anniversary of the festival and features a sprawling lineup encompassing musicians representing a vast swath of genres from country to funk and smatterings of stylings in between.
The music lineup for Hogs X, taking place March 23-24 is as follows:
NMO (North Mississippi Osborne)
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
The Steel Drivers
The Band of Heathens
The Stoop Kids
Jonathan “Boogie” Long
Hot 8 Brass Band
Hogs for the Cause founder Becker Hall spoke with OffBeat.com about the ambitious lineup for Hogs X, which he says was a difficult process due to what he terms “festival saturation” in the region.”You create this list of hundreds of names, whittle down to who’s available,but you can’t really go in any direction until you have … a couple of names. So it’s always a challenge, but a fun one,” he says.
This year, Hogs for the Cause opted to involve the public in voting for its choices of musical performers, taking to Facebook and mining the feedback for suggestions. “A lot of those names made it to the lineup this year,” says Becker, “because fans should have a voice in it. And our festival being a deep-value festival, we do it that way for the people.”
Hall says the organization is thrilled to have amassed a lineup representing a robust selection of Louisiana musicians but also acts from other states in the region including Mississippi, Texas and more. “[Oklahoma’s] Turnpike Troubadours is a great grab. They’re really ascending and are ranking as one of the best bands right now,” Becker explains enthusiastically. “They’re not getting the respect that they deserve, but their charting in the Top 5 on Americana charts is proving that these guys belong [at Hogs X]. New Orleans may be a little unfamiliar with them, but the rest of the country, not so much.”
From an entertainment perspective, Hogs for the Cause’s annual events provide New Orleans with one of the best places to hear country music, a genre Hall says New Orleans “is warming up to more.” He adds, “New Orleans’ market is strange… so strange. And their musical penchants are strange, too. And I think that makes it neat, but they’re quick to overlook a lot of things. And are very comfortable with traditional tastes and vibes, if you will.”
Tyler Childers, whom he terms as making “outlaw country” is a Kentucky musician whose latest album, Purgatory, was co-produced by Sturgill Simpson. “He is just blowing up right now, in Nashville, in Atlanta,” says Hall. “Bigger markets are really accepting him. That was a great grab, we’re really excited about it.”
Son Little is a Philadelphia rhythm & blues musician who has worked with artists like The Roots and is a Grammy-winning producer thanks to his work on Mavis Staples’ “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” Hall points to Little’s millions of streams on Spotify and spins on Sirius radio as proof of the rising star’s buzz. “It’s good for us to get some r&b in the lineup,” Hall explains of the decision to include him. “And he’s kind of the perfect sound, having lost Charles Bradley this year. It was a huge loss, and maybe Son Little can fill that role.”
Other notable inclusions from a boundary pushing perspective include Sweet Spirit, of whom Hall says “her vocals are just hard to ignore, she’s an amazing female vocalist”; Banners, whom Hall says “was us getting ‘out here’ a bit, because that’s an alt name, but an act with 47 million streams on Spotify…of all the acts we have on here, he probably has the most downloads of anybody”; Samantha Fish, who is “a new New Orleans transplant and an Americana artist who’s tearing it up”; Chaleston’s The Artisinals, whom Hall says could “honestly take the torch after Tom Petty’s passing”; Band of Heathens, “a big one” for the lineup; and Maggie Koerner, whom Hall says “will be great.”
Overall, Hall says his main objective with the music lineup is to “give a platform for some under-appreciated people.” Naturally, the tenth anniversary makes the forthcoming two-day affair particularly meaningful. “The event has grown past our wildest imaginations, and we’re trying to get it to be a perennial event the city can always be happy about it,” he explains. “Hogs is New Orleans, lets make it the best for New Orleans. The tenth year is an opportunity for us to really stabilize. The charity is massive now, helping 600 families now. The tenth year to us is a celebration of what it’s been, and now we feel like, it’s gonna be going places. It’s something to be excited about and proud of.”
For more information, including how to register as a chef and buy tickets, visit the official website of Hogs for the Cause.