The Florida-based festival will try out a new river in New Orleans Friday and Saturday.
This weekend, the Bear Creek Bayou Festival relocates from Live Oak, Florida to Mardi Gras World with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic and The Flaming Lips headlining Friday and Saturday respectively. Bear Creek Bayou joins a crowded fall festival season, taking musical cues from Bonnaroo and The Jam Cruise to offer a two-day, three-stage experience that looks a lot like sort of jam-funk offerings that dominate New Orleans’ clubs during Jazz Fest.
The festival takes its name from Bear Creek, a body of water in Florida that was intended to give the festival its setting and identity when launched in 2007. When organizers couldn’t house the festival in its intended space, the next option proved over the last few years to be financially punishing. Earlier this summer, organizers announced that they were moving the event to New Orleans and the banks of the Mississippi River.
The lineup includes many of the heavy hitters of the jam/jazz/funk scene—New Orleans luminaries George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modiste, Tony Hall, Dumpstaphunk, and Nigel Hall, along with Lettuce, Bernard Purdie, John Medeski, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and Skerik, to name a few. Skerik, Porter, and Medeski are among Bear Creek Bayou’s “Artists at Large” along with Pee Wee Ellis, Chali 2Na, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, and Derrick Freeman.
On Saturday night, the party will continue at The Howlin’ Wolf after Mardi Gras World’s 11 p.m. curfew when Ivan Neville, Ian Neville and Nick Daniels of Dumpstaphunk, Nigel Hall, Nikki Glaspie, Ryan Zoidis and Benny Bloom of Lettuce, Jen Hartswick, and TJ Norris pay tribute to one of the funk keyboard greats, Bernie Worrell, who passed on on June 24 earlier this year.