DCC Music Fest: Huge Success

By Leonard “Lenny” Vasbinder

If you missed the inaugural Delgado Community College (DCC) songwriting and music festival, then you missed a really good time.  Make sure you pen it in for Spring 2018 as they will likely have even bigger and better local and national musicians in the line-up.

The DCC festival had the look and feel of one of the early New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals, albeit smaller, before JazzFest got away from featuring the sights and sounds of New Orleans, as promoted by their name.  Unfortunately, they now feature big name artists who have nothing to do with New Orleans jazz or heritage — but the Delgado Music Festival sure did!

Besides the great music at the festival, the songwriting contest had been going on behind the scenes as its own event for a couple of months. “There were 1,200 submissions for the songwriting contest, from coast-to-coast in America and as far away as Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom,” said Eric L. Cager, Adjunct instructor at DCC and the point-man for the events.

The first round of the competition took place online on ReverbNation.com, which is where the Audience Winner, Pastor Reese (Warren Reese Hudgins, Jr.), heard about the contest.  Reese submitted his song, “I Won’t Complain” online and was selected as a finalist.  “Since being selected and performing at the festival, my rankings on ReverbNation.com have gone up dramatically.  My fan base has expanded quite a bit as well,” said Reese.  “I am so grateful to everyone associated with the songwriting contest and music festival.  I live in Moundville AL, near Tuscaloosa, and the entire organization made things so welcoming for my band and me to come down and perform at the 3 Keys venue and the next day at the music festival,” said Reese.  Reese also said that he has already booked more work as a direct result of the Delgado songwriting contest and music festival.  Pastor Reese can be reached at ReeseMusicCompany@gmail.com (or 205-463-7883) and you can read more about him and hear some of his songs at https://www.reverbnation.com/reese8

The other songwriting contest winner, Joy WhoDat Clark, performed her festival set on Saturday April 1, 2017.  Clark says she was a late bloomer for submitting to the contest and found out about the songwriting contest when she was tagged on Facebook by Dr. James Walsh, Instructor of music theory and electronic music with the Loyola University of New Orleans.  Clark did not submit her song until the last couple of days before the deadline.  Clark said she never entered a competition before and is “grateful for the entire experience.”  About a week later, she found out that she was a finalist and would be performing at the 3 Keys venue live performances.  She stayed around after her performance to hear the other performers and learned around midnight that she was the Judges Winner.  She wants to thank Eric L. Cager, Lili Lewis, Leslie Smith, the judges, and all of the experts involved in the production and master classes.  “I am extremely honored to have my songs recognized by such an accomplished panel of judges. It makes me even more proud of my work,” said Joy WhoDat Clark.  Clark can be reached at ClarkJoy3@gmail.com.

There was a nice crowd turnout on Friday with more and more people turning out as the day progressed and people got off work.  Saturday started off a little slow, probably due to all of the other festivals going on, but picked up as the day went on and the better-known acts were playing, culminating with The Iguanas closing out the festival.

Even US News & World Report was dishing about Delgado!  https://www.usnews.com/news/louisiana/articles/2017-02-26/new-songwriting-contest-music-fest-at-delgado-community-col

Cager says they were happy with the inaugural Delgado Songwriting Contest and Music Festival and says both events are “definitely on” for 2018.  They expect a much larger group of songwriters to submit songs for next year.

This year’s line-up:

Friday March 31, 2017

11:00 — 11:40 — Delgado Jazz Ensemble

12:00 — 12:40 — Delgado Jazz Combo

1:00 — 2:10 — Songwriting Contest Winner — Pastor Reese

2:30 — 3:40 — Preservation All Stars

4:00 — 5:10 — Watson’s Theory

5:30 — 6:40 —  Anders Osborne

7:00 — 8:30 — Stanton Moore Trio

Saturday April 1, 2017

11:00 — 11:40 — Peter Cho

12:00 — 12:40 — McDonogh 35 Brass Band — Lawrence Rawlins conducting

1:00 — 2:10 — Songwriter Contest Winner — Joy WhoDat Clark

2:30 — 3:40 — Henry Turner

4:00 — 5:10 — Stephanie Jordan

5:30 — 6:40 — Michael Skinkus and Moyuba

7:00 — 8:30 — Iguanas

What Next?

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