When Hogs for the Cause opens tonight in City Park, it will feature a full slate of bands on Friday at well, finishing with The Drive-By Truckers.

drive-by truckers photo
Drive-By Truckers, by David McClister

Hogs for the Cause started as a pig roast, then morphed into a cook-off that was as much yard party as barbecue competition, then turned pro without losing its loose vibe and eager amateur competitors, even as barbecue circuit  competitors from around the country have joined the ranks. 

The cook-off has also shown ambition as a music event with an Americana and modern southern rock slant, and for the first time it will feature music on two stages on the first night as well as the second when it opens tonight at City Park’s Festival Grounds. The teams will cook while The Drive-By Truckers, Earphone, Strand of Oaks, Moon Hooch, Uncle Lucius, and The Wooden Wings will perform. Then on Saturday when barbecue is served, The Wood Brothers, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Tab Benoit, Hiss Golden Messenger, Toubab Krewe, The Soul Rebels, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners, Little Freddie King, and King James and the Special Men will perform.

For my money, Hogs’ cause is one of the most chilling as the festival helps the families of children dealing with pediatric brain cancer.