Sale price Price $30.00 Regular price

The 100 Men Hall launches its first annual Booker Fest to celebrate the musical genius of James Booker. Booker Fest starts Friday, August 30, 2019 at 8PM and ends on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at midnight. The festival features a rollicking good-time itinerary that allows festivalgoers to enjoy the Hall as well as Bay Saint Louis. A very limited amount of lucky campers will be allowed to pitch a tent onsite!

Booker Fest is designed to bring awareness to one of town’s most gifted artists - James Carroll Booker III (December 17, 1939 – November 8, 1983), who was raised by his aunt in Bay Saint Louis. Booker played with the St. Rose de Lima gospel choir and on the historic stage at the 100 Men Hall. Booker Fest will include a gospel tribute by the esteemed St. Rose de Lima choir and a piano tribute by two of New Orleans greatest pianists, Tom McDermott and Josh Paxton, a screening of Lily Keber’s acclaimed documentary on Booker, Bayou Maharajah, as well as reflections on Booker by Ellis Anderson of Shoofly Magazine, ending with a hip-shaking dance party headlined by Cuban percussionist Alexey Martí with Jorge Perez, Paolo Castanogli and Oscar Rossignoli.

The Fest is intended as an annual fundraiser for the maintenance and preservation of the 100 Men Hall and also to attract regional, national and international attention to this African American landmark, one of the few standing buildings on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The event will happen Labor Day weekend and allows primitive camping for the first time in the historic district of Bay Saint Louis at 100 Men Hall.

A wristband allows entry to ALL of the events - $25 in advance here: https://the100menhall.com/products/james-booker-festival or $30 at door. All tickets will be Will Call and wristbands will be given at the door. 

The 100 Men Hall is grateful to our sponsors, Silver Slipper Casino, Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area, Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty, Hollywood Casino, Hancock Whitney Bank, Lazy Magnolia, Cathead Vodka, Smith & Lens, Ann Madden Photography, Shoofly Magazine, SouthGroup Insurance, and Pop Bros. Their support has made this event possible.

Booker Fest Schedule

Friday, August 30th

8PM               Lazy Magnolia Brewery and Cathead Vodka present a screening of Lily Keber's Bayou Maharajah, the definitive documentary on Booker at 100 Men Hall. Delicious eats for purchase by The Smoking Oyster.

Saturday, August 31st

10AM            Hollywood Casino and Hancock Whitney Bank present the St. Rose Gospel Choir on 100 Men Hall's historic stage.

4 - 5PM          Reflections on Booker by Ellis Anderson, publisher of Shoofly Magazine.

5 - 6PM          The Silver Slipper presents a Booker piano tribute performed by New Orleans piano greats -Tom McDermott and Josh Paxton. Delicious eats for purchase by The Smoking Oyster.

9 – 11PM      The Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area presents a Dance Party with Cuban superstar Alexey Martí accompanied by Jorge Perez, Paolo Castanogli and Oscar Rossignoli. Delicious eats for purchase by The Smoking Oyster.

during Booker Fest. Park at Train Depot or on Necaise Avenue.

There will be very limited primitive camping on nearly an acre of land at the 100 Men Hall next to the Historic Train Depot. Reserve your campsite now! Four villages sponsored by Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty, Smith & Lens and Shoofly Magazine will house four tents each. Primitive camping allows (2) entry to all of the events - $75 - contact Rachel at 100MenHall@gmail.com for details. You may purchase the camping ticket here: https://the100menhall.com/products/james-booker-festival-primitive-camping

Food and Beverages for purchase including some deliciousness prepared by Chef Chris Hayes of the Smoking Oyster, Pop Bros boozy popsicles, Cathead Vodka specialty batch Booker Bliss, Lazy Magnolia and other beer, wine, and spirit (pints) set ups at the 100 Men Hall bar.

James Booker was born James Carroll Booker III on December 17, 1939, in New Orleans, and was influenced by his church and Baptist minister parents and grandparents, who played piano. Booker was a child prodigy who loved classical music (especially Bach) and part of his amazing skill lay in an ability to blend a Rachmaninoff tune with a rolling blues piano riff. After his father became ill during Booker’s early childhood, he and his sister Betty Jean were sent to live with his aunt in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. 

Directed by Lily Keber, Bayou Maharajah chronicles the life and music of this colorful, troubled figure, legendary in New Orleans but obscure elsewhere. The film features extensive performance and interview footage of Booker, who died in 1983 at age 44. “I’ve got some blues that contains old soul with new wrinkles,” the pianist says in a clip featured in the trailer, perhaps referencing the way his style seamlessly incorporated classical, jazz and gospel.

St. Rose de Lima Gospel Choir - Considered the best Southern Gospel choir in the region, the St. Rose choir was already a Bay Saint Louis institution when James Booker played there. Several members sang when Booker played in the choir. The choir has been featured in the gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Tom McDermott - Larry Blumenfeld of the Wall Street Journal writes, "The relaxed feel of Mr. McDermott’s playing sometimes conceals the boldness of his harmonic decisions and the rigor of his approach, which leans on diligent musicology. His playing and his original compositions draw from deep repertoire (he can play Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s mid-19th-century works with aplomb) and flash the same offbeat wit as the limericks and pencil drawings he publishes in small volumes."

Josh Paxton - In a city known for its piano players, Josh Paxton stands out from the crowd. By combining New Orleans' deep piano traditions with modern jazz twists, classical technique, and a funky rhythmic drive, he creates a unique and memorable style that led Dr. John to describe him as "[freakin'] blessed." Josh moved from his native Ohio to New Orleans in his early 20s to study with jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. After earning his degree he quickly found himself in demand as a solo performer and sideman, playing solo sets at festivals in and out of town, and touring and recording with such diverse acts as the Wild Magnolias, Li'l Queenie, the Cosmic Krewe, Maria Muldaur, and Bruce Hornsby. And by doing the first written transcriptions of the music of piano legends Professor Longhair and James Booker, he solidified his reputation as a serious scholar of the city's musical heritage.

Alexey Martí - Martí was born in Havana, Cuba and started playing congas in the home of his grandparents during Santería religious ceremonies and soon began studying percussion under the legendary Oscar Valdés, a former member of the Cuban supergroup Irakere, and one of the first to incorporate the traditional batá drums into modern Cuban jazz. He will be on the historic 100 Men Hall stage with all stars, Jorge Perez, Paolo Castanogli and Leonardo Mejias.

Food for purchase by Chef Chris Hayes of The Smoking Oyster. Chef Chris is a Food Network star. After obtaining his culinary degree, Chef Chris worked at various restaurants and casinos, before relocating to New Orleans. Earlier this year, Chef Chris was named the winning contestant on Food Network's Cooks vs Cons. His recipes are featured in Louisiana Cooking Magazine and Road Tours Magazine.