POSTED: Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 1:04pm
Alexandria, La (WNTZ) — The excitement behind AlexRiverFête – a new three-day festival celebrating the arts, culture and heritage of Central Louisiana debuting this May – continues to build.
Today, the City of Alexandria announced that the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band will be the featured headline performance on Friday, May 10. The free concert begins at 8:00 p.m. on the Downtown Riverfront Amphitheater, with singer-songwriter Eric Lindell opening the show.
Rebirth is known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans tradition of second line with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they’ve also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound.
“Music is at the heart of Louisiana heritage, and Rebirth Brass Band’s signature sound and variety is a perfect fit for the AlexRiverFête debut,” said City of Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. “No matter what kind of music you listen to, Rebirth offers a little bit of everything. We’re thrilled to welcome them and all our featured musical talent to Alexandria as they help us kick-off our community’s new event.”
OPENING PERFORMANCE: ERIC LINDELL
Singer-songwriter Eric Lindell will open for Rebirth Brass Band at 8:00 p.m. on Friday evening with his southern soul music, infused with R&B and a touch of New Orleans funk. It’s “at home on your front porch on a summer evening” as it is “in a hot sweaty club on a Saturday night.” It’s blues music, glazed with a taste of country. It is simple, heartfelt song writing; melodic guitar solos and energized live performance.
Lindell has been writing and recording songs for over 15 years, and is now touring behind the strength of his latest release I Still Love You. His band’s rhythm section, Myles Weeks on upright bass and Will McMains on drums, have been with Eric for over three years, making their performance on I Still Love You, as well as their live shows incredibly tight and intuitive. Both players are young, but have a swing feel of much more seasoned musicians.
Rounding out the band are saxophonists Brad Walker and Chris Fitzgerald, whose horn section work serves the purpose of the church choir, answering in the affirmative to the soulful vocals, giving the music the feel of a packed bar in Memphis or New Orleans, where soul music reigns supreme.
Saturday, May 11 features an array of live performances by talented musicians from across Central Louisiana and beyond. Beginning at noon, a cappella group Transit Vocal Band (know as transit) will take the stage at the Downtown Riverfront Amphitheater during the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races™ intermission.
transit draws on the combined talents of five extraordinary individuals who have been a part of the vocal music scene for more than 10 years. Their love for a cappella is second only to their love for music. Combining soaring leads, smooth harmonies and a thumping rhythm section, transit demonstrates the power, versatility, and emotion of the most natural instrument of all, the human voice.
In addition to the Riverfront Amphitheater, a second stage located adjacent to The Town Talk building will include an afternoon line-up of local bands and choirs spanning a variety of music genres: gospel, blues, jazz, zydeco and more. The full schedule of local performers will be released soon.
AlexRiverFête is a brand-new festival celebrating the arts, culture and heritage of Central Louisiana. Set on the banks of the iconic Red River in Downtown Alexandria, the three-day fest combines several local events all in one weekend, including Dinner on the Bricks, ArtWalk, the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races™ and a barbeque competition. From May 9-11, 2013, visitors will enjoy dozens of lively arts programs, colorful street performers, vibrant craft displays, live music, delicious food, children’s activities and ongoing entertainment. Admission to the festival is free. Merchandise, food and drink will be for sale.
Festival sponsors include the City of Alexandria, the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority and the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information about AlexRiverFête, visit www.facebook.com/alexriverfete  or call (318) 449-5000.