James Booker Festival

Sale price Price $25.00 Regular price

The 100 Men Hall launches its first annual James Booker Festival to celebrate the musical genius of Booker. The festival will feature a rowdy itinerary that allows festival goers to enjoy the Hall as well as Bay Saint Louis. The festival is a fundraiser for the 100 Men Hall to help with the maintenance and preservation of this African American landmark. 

Festival Schedule:

Friday, August 30th

9pm - Indoor screening of Lily Keber's Bayou Maharajah at 100 Men Hall. The definitive documentary of James Booker. 

Saturday, August 31st

10am - Morning Gospel Choir on 100 Men Hall's historic stage. Some members were in the choir when Booker played at the church. 

4pm - Readings and tributes by locals who knew Booker

5pm - Piano tribute performed by Tom McDermott and Josh Paxton.

8pm - Outdoor screening of Bayou Maharajah. 

9pm -  DJ dance party in the Hall. 

There will be primitive camping on the 100 Men Hall property in four sponsored villages. 

Food will be provided by Chef Chris Hayes from the Smoking Oyster.

For a wrist band that allows you entry to all of the events - $25 in advance here, or $30 at door. Wrist band will be given to you on arrival. 

For primitive camping that 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

Sponsorships are available for the festival. 

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 an 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. 

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."</span><span></span><span>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.

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. 

Artist: Ann Madden