(New Orleans, La.) Mayor C. Ray Nagin has started a new music festival that will give New Orleans performers an additional showcase opportunity at a time when the leaders of the international music industry are in town for Jazz Fest.

The first MO Fest concerts will take place 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 28 and April 29, the Monday and Tuesday between Jazz Fest weekends. The free music festival is open to the public and will be held at the Hibernia Pavilion in Woldenberg Park, which is located on the riverfront on the French Quarter side of Canal Street.

The lineup includes: the Charmaine Neville Band with Reggie Houston and Amasa Miller; Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen; Juanita Brooks; Bust, featuring Rebecca Barry; Kelly Love Jones; Linnzi Zaorski & Delta Royale; Revelation; Big Sam’s Funky Nation; the All-Star Traditional Jazz Clarinet Showdown; Josephine Mills; Naked on the Floor and The Friendly Travelers.

“These performers represent a dozen reasons for Jazz Fest visitors to extend their New Orleans musical journey. We plan to make MO Fest an annual Jazz Fest tradition and hope international music industry executives will use it as an opportunity to see what New Orleans has to offer,” Mayor Nagin said.

About 75% of the acts in the MO Fest lineup will not appear at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The Nagin administration has made that a standard for MO Fest to ensure that the exposure for New Orleans musicians is spread as far as possible when the music industry spotlight is on New Orleans. Pictures and bios of the MO Fest performers are available on the web at

MO Fest sponsors include Hibernia National Bank, Louisiana Music Factory, Entercom radio stations, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, the Loyola University Music Business Program, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Offbeat, Four Winds Specialty Printing, Crescent City Brewhouse, the Audubon Institute, Bell South, House of Blues, Express Signs and Graphics.

MO Fest is just one of many steps that New Orleans is taking to nurture the local music business.

The Mayor’s Office recently finished a 13-week concert series called MO Tunes. House of Blues donated the use of The Parish room for MO Tunes, allowing performers to collect the entire proceeds of the door. Another MO Tunes concert series is scheduled for the fall.

During Jazz Festival, the Nagin administration will be circulating 2,000 MO Tunes compilation CDs to visiting entertainment industry officials. All of the studio tracks available on the MO Tunes CD are available for licensing for television and film use.

The Nagin Administration has organized monthly Music Business Development Seminars that cover such topics as “Buying a House on a Musician’s Salary,” “Booking High Paying Convention Jobs” and “Getting Straight with the IRS.”

“Our music scene has excellent potential to grow into a new source of jobs and prosperity for New Orleans,” Mayor Nagin said. “Our music programs focus on building the business skills of local performers and giving them the financial tools to grow their careers.”

[Published on: 4/21/03]

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