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2018 Bayou Boogaloo: What to know before you go

‘Celebrating Bayou St John: Past, Present, and Future’
is by Covington-born artist Emma Frick. The 2018 Bayou Boogaloo poster is available for purchase at the festival.

The 2018 Bayou Boogaloo is just days away, but the previously-free festival has a bunch of new features – and a new fee – to keep in mind before you head out.

The festival, which began in 2006, assembles a kid’s stage, three music stages, local food and art vendors and an arts and crafts table within five blocks surrounding Bayou St. John. Dozens of people throughout the weekend float, paddle or drift down the Bayou to hear live music or grab a Friends of Lafitte Greenway root beer float.

But this year’s fest brings a few new features – as well as a new fee for latecomers.

Festival-goers arriving after 3 p.m. will pay a $10 admission on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, that admission fee is $5. Children under 12 are free all day, every day. The Boogaloo is open until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. Weekend wristbands are available in advance for $20.000 and allow re-entry.

All those who enter after 3 p.m. (and pay the fee) will be automatically entered into a $1,000 raffle.

Organizers have also designed a free, downloadable smartphone app with weather information, fest schedules and other related info.You can find the app in the Apple or Android store.

Also new this year, the Bayou Boogaloo will have sign language interpreters on all stages, all three days of the festival. Friday night features an all-women music stage, “in response to growing national focus on female empowerment,” according to a release.

Festival-goers braved the rain Sunday to spend time on the bayou (Claire Byun).

The Pinettes Brass Band plays from 5 to 6:15 p.m., followed by supergroup N.O.B.A.B.E.S. from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. The weekend also includes a performance from 2018 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and original Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli, Marc Broussard and Deacon John & the Ivories. To see the lineup, click here.

This year’s festival also includes gluten-free and vegan food offerings from Z’Kaya, located next to the Art Market near the Port Orleans Dumaine Street stage. Other new food vendors include Empanola and Zippy Fruit, who will be serving fresh fruit cones, smoothies and watermelon slices.

The Boogaloo has teamed up with Blue Bikes New Orleans to provide two free bike lock locations near the Bayou. The first is near a permanent Blue Bikes hub located at Jeff Davis and Lafitte Greenway. The second will be a temporary hub north of Dumaine Street called the Drop Zone.

The Boogaloo has brought back beloved events this year as well, including the Paddle Battle Boat Races sponsored by Pacifico Beer. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. (with a 7:30 a.m. check in) on Saturday, with multiple entry categories for the 6.12-mile kayak and canoe races from Deutsch House to Robert E. Lee Blvd. and back. The competition is open to all ages and levels with boat rentals available. There’s a $35 registration fee and the winner can score a brand new paddle board (and bragging rights).

Festival goers enjoy drinks from the bayou on Sunday at Bayou Boogaloo 2016. People flocked to the bayou on the watercraft of their choice to enjoy the festival from the water. (Zach Brien,

The Bicycle Pub Crawl also returns Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as a fundraiser for the Mid-City Volleyball Group and Friends of Bayou St. John. More information on the crawl can be found here.

The Boogaloo also needs a volunteer cleanup crew on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Volunteers meet at 8 a.m. at the Orleans Avenue Bridge and will be provided with trash bags and kayaks. All volunteers will receive t-shirts, festival swag and be entered into raffles to win $100, gift certificates to Mid-City restaurants and a kayak tour for two on Bayou St. John.

The Bayou Boogaloo is produced by the Friends of Bayou St. John (previously the Mothership Foundation). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Boogaloo’s website.

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