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Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023

Party in the Park


Highland Jazz and Blues Festival returns

Although local thermometers haven’t gotten the memo, the fall season is lurking around the corner, and fall in Louisiana means it’s festival time.

One of the lead-off positions is held by the annual Highland Jazz and Blues Festival. This year marks its 19th edition, according to festival coordinator Emerie Eck Holtzclaw.

“We want to see everybody. We want to see everybody come out and enjoy the park and the festivities and the camaraderie of the community. This is one of the festivals that kicks off the festival season and we pray to the ‘Barksdale Bubble’ for good weather.”

Sponsored again this year by Louisiana Healthcare Connections, the Highland Area Partnership presents the festival each year in Columbia Park. This year, the festival presents nine bands playing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 16 on two stages in the park.

“We have a killer line-up this year,” Holtzclaw said. “We have J and the Causeways headlining the 19th festival. They are a group out of New Orleans. They have a really cool kind of jazz, funk, blues vibe. We think that everyone at the festival will enjoy it.

“Zack Edwards and the Medicine coming out of the Acadiana area. They’ve got a cool blues, jazzy vibe, as well. All of them are a lot of fun and make the park a party.

“We have your local favorites. Buddy Flett is going to open the Main Pavilion Stage. Buddy’s only missed one festival in its 19-year run. We’re super excited to have Buddy back, and we’ll be inviting him around as long as he’ll let us,” Holtzclaw adds.

More performances throughout the day include Shreveport Regional Jazz Ensemble, De’Lontrell Thomas, Twang Darkly, Co-op Mode, Full on Pocket and Curtis Mills featuring Groove Minded.

“The festival is free to attend. That’s something that we pride ourselves on. We want this to be a community event. We want everybody to come and have access to jazz and blues music,” Holtzclaw said. “In addition to the killer line-up, we have some local school groups that will be performing between the bands, including the return of the Creswell Elementary Blazin’ Beatz Bucket Drum Team. Everybody really enjoyed them last year, so we’ve asked them to come back and join us.

The festival asks that attendees refrain from bringing their own coolers because the proceeds from food and drink sales make the festival free and possible each year.

“We have over 50 vendors to shop from,” Holtzclaw explained, “whether it’s art or food or different products. And we’ve got some really wonderful souvenirs this year. Local artist Alex Richardson created the poster and the design, and it’s just fabulous.”

In addition to the music and art, a Children’s Area will be sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana with multiple activities planned throughout the afternoon.

“You can bring your pets,” she added. “We have a pet area sponsored by Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery. Bring your pets, bring your friends, bring your appetite, and bring your thirst.

“This is how we become a stronger community together. It’s time for us to come together to just have some fun.”



11:00 am – Buddy Flett
12:15 pm – Shreveport Regional Jazz Ensemble
1:30 pm – Curtis Mills feat. Groove Minded
3:00 pm - Zach Edwards and The Medicine
4:30 pm – J and The Causeways


11:30 am – De’Lontrell Thomas
1:00 pm – Twang Darkly
2:30 pm – Co-op Mode
4:00 pm – Full on Pocket


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