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Monday, Aug. 26, 2019

Highland Jazz & Blues Fest

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For years, singer/songwriter Logan Lewis has been “running that I-20 corridor” – playing venues and events of all sizes.

But when “Logan and the Legendaries” take the stage at next month’s Highland Jazz & Blues Festival, it will be – as far as Lewis is concerned – his band’s biggest show.

“This event is, to us, the most important one we are going to have this year,” Lewis said. “It was always something I wanted to do. The legacy of the people who have played there, and the level of talent that will be there this year – it’s certainly a great honor for us to be included in that lineup.”

Now in its 16th year, the festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., in Shreveport’s historic Highland neighborhood at Columbia Park. Admission is free, with nine musical acts scheduled to perform on two stages.

There will also be more than 70 food and art vendors, as well as a Kids’ Zone. Your pet is also invited, as there will be a dog area featuring water stations, treats and nail trims.

To get you to the festival, a shuttle service between Columbia Park and Mall St. Vincent. Shuttles will run continuously from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 pm.

“(Highland) is a historic neighborhood, and we want to make sure we’re bringing people and business to our community so they can see all the great things in the eclectic neighborhood that we have,” said festival organizer Emerie Eck Gentry. “We have a little bit of something for everybody. So, if we can spend one day of having community comaraderie, let’s get all the neighbors out and bring them to the park and teach kids about different genres of music that they don’t necessarily hear on the radio.”

This year’s musical lineup showcases co-headliners from New Orleans – Margie Perez and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. The other seven performers are Shreveport-based, with all of the acts playing to the festival’s theme.

“We want to stay true to our festival, because it is a jazz and blues festival, so we want to stay in the realm of those two genres,” Gentry said. “However, within that realm, we want to make sure it’s diverse and represents our community. We have women. We have men. We have different races. We have an all-African- American headline group. We have two Latino talent groups. We have LGBTQ. It is definitely diverse.”

Lewis’ band features a sound built on a popular genre, but with a twist.

“I would call it some soundful rockand-roll,” Lewis explained. “We have a saxophone player in place of a lead guitar, so it’s a rock-and-roll band, but we have that element of a saxophone. It’s somewhere along the lines of a Bruce Springsteen or a Tom Petty, in terms of the sound of the songs and where the style of the writing comes from.

The saxophone player really pushes the limits of the horn to make it growl or squeal, and do things that you might hear an electric guitar do.”

Last year, local band Seratones headlined the festival. This year, the Seratones have been reviewed by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine. Seratones is also touring throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. Therefore, bands like “Logan and the Legendaries” recognize playing at the Highland festival can be a launching pad to widespread success.

“Anytime you get an opportunity to play a festival of this size, that puts you in front of people who have never heard you play before, and it offers you greater opportunities,” Lewis said. “Not just from a networking standpoint with the other bands who are there from outof-town, but also from the local aspect and the regional aspect as well. We know people come from East Texas to the festival, and we would like to see our music be in more people’s hands and more people’s ears. A festival is always a great opportunity to have an impact on the number of people who are aware of you.”

The Highland festival also gives those of you who might otherwise not be able to hear live music an opportunity to do so.

“I have a lot of people that I know that are friends of mine or acquaintances of mine that have not been able to come see us maybe because they have kids, or they don’t frequent establishments which allow smoking – which most of the live music venues in town do,” Lewis said. “This is a great opportunity for us to do something during the day that anybody, no matter what their age, background or personal preference of venue is, can come to see us. So, it’s a wide audience.”

For more information on the 16th annual Highland Jazz & Blues Festival, you may visit www.highlandjazzandblues.org.


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