Art Neville, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint will be remembered when the Who Dat Rally and Music Festival kicks off with Maple Leaf Presents- A Tribute to New Orleans Music Legends, Friday, September 6. Musicians who will participate in the Tribute include Irma Thomas, Deacon John, Renard Poche, John “Papa” Gros, Lenny Green and other special guests. “We are pleased that such a stellar group of iconic New Orleans musicians are coming together to salute our music legends ,” said promoter Steve Monistere of Paramount Entertainment. “We are also particularly pleased to pass on 100% all ticket donations to the New Orleans Musician Clinic. Our musicians are the bedrock of what the world thinks of when they think about New Orleans. We have to support them ”.
Tickets to the Tribute are free and available through Eventbrite. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. (www.whodatnationevents.com) Gates open at 5 p.m. A New Orleans band (TBD) will kick off the evening’s music at 6 p.m. set. Fresh off a European tour, the James Andrews band will perform a set of New Orleans classics starting at 7 p.m. The Tribute begins at 8:00 p.m. and will continue until 10 p.m.
The Rally & Festival continues Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8 with music on three states, arts and crafts, and children’s activities such as an impressive Bounce Park being erected especially for the Festival. Eighteen bands including superstars Blood Sweat & Tears, The Guess Who, New Power Generation(NPG) featuring Tamar Davis, and the Family Stone will be performing along with George Porter Jr., Cowboy Mouth, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Honey Island Swamp Band, Corey Henry & the Treme Funket, Louis Prima Jr. and the Witness, Tribal Gold, The Producers, The Topcats, The Catahoulas, James Andrews Band, Supercharger,
All for One Brass Band, Michael O’Hara – The Sheik, and the Ol’Cats – (the original members of TQ and the Topcats.) WWL Radio’s Bobby Hebert will be leading a massive on-stage Who Dat Nation Rally with special guests all three nights. Hebert is also encouraging Who Dat fans to come to the festival dressed as a blind referee.
More than a dozen area restaurants will be providing traditional festival food. Alcoholic beverages including Anheuser Busch products, Champagne, wine and craft cocktails as well as iced coffees, fresh lemonade, bottled water and soft drinks will be available throughout the festival grounds. Children will enjoy ice cream and Sno-balls.
Produced in cooperation with Jefferson Parish, SMG Facility Management and Paramount Entertainment, the two-day event will bring together thousands of fans to rally the team for the 2019 season. A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to Jefferson Parish’s Parks and Recreation program. The Arts and Music Departments of the Jefferson Parish Public Schools will benefit from the “Dunk Goodell” booth where Who Dat Nation fans can practice their pitch on masked imitators.
Saturday’s activities begin with the Who Dat Nation Krewe of Paws Parade and Costume Contest which will benefit the Jefferson SPCA, Animal Rescue New Orleans, Spaymart and Take Paws Rescue. Honorary Chairs Angela Hill and Kat from Bayou 95.7 will lead the festivities. On-site registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Judging for the costume contest is set for Noon. First, second and third place prizes will be given for the best male and best female pet costume. Prizes include gift certificates from Aucoin Hart Jewelers and other festival vendors.
The parade will begin at 12:30 and will be led by the All for One Brass Band. All dogs must have a current vaccination tag. Adoptable animals will also be included in the parade and available to meet during the afternoons by the Children’s Village. The Greater New Orleans Therapeutic Riding Center is also bringing several horses to interact with the children. Horseback rides will not be available. Advance parade registration is $20 through Eventbrite. Onsite registration is $25. Each registrant will receive two free tickets to attend the Festival. Animals – except certified support animals with proper credentials – are not allowed on the festival grounds.
Volunteers are also needed to assist in making the festival a success. Assignments are available at the front gate, in the information and press booth, at the Bounce Park, with the food, beverage and craft booths, with the dog parade, Children’s Village, and Who Dat rallies. Volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation session and will get preferential parking. Each volunteer will also receive a Festival t-shirt and four general admission tickets valued at $120 for each shift worked. Volunteer shifts last four hours each day. Volunteers are asked to sign up for two shifts. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at www.whodatnationevents.com
“The Who Dat song that started the craze began in a modest house on California Street in Kenner, Louisiana in 1983. Now 36 years later we are proud to welcome the Who Dat Nation back home to Jefferson Parish,” said Parish President Mike Yenni. “Jefferson Parish deserves more high quality music events like this festival. We are thrilled to have such a great lineup of entertainers for this first-year event,” said District 2 Councilman Paul Johnston.
The Who Dat Nation is much more than just a fan base. It’s an identity. It’s an attitude. It’s a religion,” said Jefferson Parish native Steve Monistere, who produced the song. “The chant “Who Dat Sey Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints’ was central to a song produced by me and Carlo Nuccio. Aaron Neville and several Saints players sang the song and performed the chant. Over the years, Who Dat has turned into an identity that is recognized worldwide as uniquely New Orleans, uniquely Louisiana.”
Thanks to the legislation authored this year by Louisiana State Senator Wesley Bishop, the State of Louisiana will be erecting signs along the 1-10 corridor at the Texas and Mississippi state lines exclaiming “Welcome to Louisiana – Home of the Who Dat Nation.” A similar sign will be placed by the 1-10 Superdome exit. The Who Dat Nation is the only fan base recognized by its home state in this way.
“It is appropriate that Jefferson Parish serves as the host of a first-of-its kind event specifically for the citizens of Who Dat Nation. Whether you call it a gathering, a convention or just a party, it’s a reminder of the power of the Who Dat Nation and how we came together to “Strike Back” after last season’s “New Orleans No-Call”, said Monistere. Sponsors include Bud Light “The Official Beer of the Who Dat Nation ”, Aucoin Hart Jewelers “The Official Jeweler of the Who Dat Nation,” Acadian Windows & Siding “The Official Window Company of the Who Dat Nation”, River Parish Disposal, Brewed & Distilled, Gulf Coast Bank, the Maple Leaf Bar, the New Orleans Airport Hilton, Jefferson Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Times Picayune New Orleans Advocate, Whereyat Magazine, WWOZ, and the Entercom family of radio stations (WWL AM & FM, Bayou 95.7, Magic 101.9, and the new Hot 92.9).
Special hotel rates are available through participating Jefferson Parish hotels including Hampton Inn & Suites Elmwood, the Wyndham Garden Inn New Orleans Airport Hotel, the TownePlace Suites New Orleans Metairie, the Hilton New Orleans Airport, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Best Western Plus, the Holiday Inn Metairie New Orleans Airport, the Hampton Inn Metairie, the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Metairie, Comfort Inn & Suites Metairie, Copeland Tower Conference Center, Ramada by Wyndham, Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Airport, Best Western Bayou Inn, Comfort Inn Marrero, and Holiday Inn Express Harvey-Marrero. Links to the hotels’ Who Dat rates are available at www.whodatnationevents.com
Tickets for adults Saturday and Sunday include a $30 one-day pass and a $45 two-day pass. Tickets for teenagers 13-18 are $10 for one day and $15 for both days. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Admission for the Friday night Tribute to New Orleans Music Legends is a free ticket and can be obtained at www.whodatnationevents.com . All Jefferson Performing Arts Center VIP ticket holders receive a free weekend pass. VIP stage-side bleacher seats can also be purchased. Advance tickets for the JPAC VIP shows are available through Ticketmaster