July 9, 2020

Fourth of July Celebrated in a Socially Distant Way

Fourth of July Celebrated in a Socially Distant Way

In lieu of a traditional Fourth of July celebration this year consisting of an official  fireworks display over the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans, city officials planned an equally festive, socially-distanced, drive-in mini music festival, so reports a nola.com article.

Due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, New Orleans moved their Fourth of July celebration and fireworks to have them set off over Lake Pontchartrain near Bucktown as the culmination of the night’s festivities, “Festing on the Fourth.” The event took place at Bucktown Harbor Park, and featured performances by country/Cajun fiddler and singer Amanda Shaw, the brass/stage band hybrid the Brass-A-Holics, contemporary funk band Flow Tribe, and cover band D-Play, ending with a fireworks display choreographed to music.

Given the casual atmosphere of the Fourth of July event, attendees could bring their own food and beverages, but food and both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages were  available for purchase. Additionally, face masks were required when going to and from the concession area and restrooms. Otherwise, attendees were expected to remain inside or beside their vehicles as the show was broadcast via an FM transmitter.

Given that national and state-wide guidelines have altered previously scheduled music events and festivals, drive-in-style events have become the default model for live music, as nothing will deter a Louisiana city’s right to party. Earlier this summer, Kenner hosted a drive-in concert at the Pontchartrain Center on May 30, and soon a three-week drive-in concert series on the UNO Lakefront Arena will kick off on July 10 with Tank and the Bangas and continues with Galactic on July 17 and the Revivalists on July 24.

One group featured at the Fourth of July event was Flow Tribe, a group who would have entertained crowds at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but instead played a similarly raucous outdoor show at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs on June 20.

“It’s all up in the air,” singer/trumpeter K.C. O’Rorke said. “Everybody’s trying to figure out a formula that works. So many things go through your mind: ‘Should I be doing this? Is this the right time?’ You want to be responsible.” This ever-shifting landscape requires “constantly being on your toes and figuring out what will actually happen and what won’t. We’ll take what we can get, but we won’t push it. We’ll figure out something else to stay alive.”

During the band’s downtime, O’Rorke and his bandmates have finished a new album and live-streamed monthly performances from their New Orleans-based studio, though the reception could take some adjusting. “We’ve gotten used to no applause and playing to a screen, which is strange. So this will be cool. We’re grateful for the gig,” said O’Rorke in a an interview with nola.com prior to the Fourth of July event.

The Fourth of July event, “Fest-ing on the Fourth”, kicked off at 3pm with live music at Bucktown Harbor Park. For optimal visual and audio reception, attendees had the option to go just over the levee near the Coast Guard Station on the grassy field for a lively, celebratory evening.

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