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Krewe of Rocckus
The inaugural Krewe of Rocckus is preceded by the band’s Road to Mardi Gras Tour with opening act Big Sam's Funky Nation. Guests stay at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside checking in Thursday, March 3rd and departing Saturday March 5, 2011.
Events include a welcome brunch with celebrity Chef John Besh at Harrah’s Casino, two nights of shows at the House of Blues New Orleans with performances by Better Than Ezra, Pat Green, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and “special guests” according to the event's official website. Parades include Krewe of Hermes & Krewe d’Etat, and Super-Krewe of Endymion with private viewing stands on St. Charles Avenue of outside Michaul’s Cajun restaurant.
The band drew inspiration from contemporary rock cruises as well as their Southern roots and tailored the event for their loyal fan base (aka “Ezralites) and Southern music and culture enthusiasts both in and outside of the region.
Keith Spera, of The Times-Picayune said “In a twist on the ‘rock cruise’ phenomenon, in which bands ranging from John Mayer to Sister Hazel have chartered cruise ships for multi-day excursions with fans, the Ezra team has organized a Mardi Gras weekend ‘destination event.’ Fans willing to pony up can spend a long, lost Carnival weekend of parades, private viewing stands, dining, drinking, gambling and concerts with [Better Than Ezra] as their hosts.”
Although no part of the event takes place on water, the various venues, including Harrah’s Casino, The House of Blues, as well as the Hilton Riverside hotel are all in close proximity of one another in the historic Mardi Gras hub of downtown New Orleans allowing for the overarching metaphor of an “on-land cruise ship.” The idea being that fans will arrive at the Hilton Riverside hotel on Canal street, the main parade drag of downtown New Orleans, and maneuver easily through a series of entertainment with amenities and staff at their disposal throughout the journey.
Keeping with the history of Mardi Gras, those participating in the travel package are members of the Krewe of Rocckus. According to event’s official website “The name Krewe of Rocckus is a play on the traditional names of Mardi Gras parades that are seen in New Orleans such as Krewe of Bacchus. ‘We wanted to create a Mardi Gras Krewe of our own for the fans who will be experiencing Mardi Gras with us as their personal hosts. Since music is the core of the event, Krewe of Rocckus seemed like the perfect name.’”
Better Than Ezra are an alternative band, formed in 1988 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who came of age in the 90s in New Orleans. Top hits include Good and Desperately Wanting. Their song Breathless was covered by Taylor Swift at the Hope for Haiti Now telethon. Lead singer, Kevin Griffin co-wrote Sugarland's latest hit Stuck Like Glue, which in 2010, achieved the chart milestone of highest Billboard Hot 100 debut (No. 20) for a country duo or group.
This success garnered attention from major record labels and music reps with interest in both Better Than Ezra and Kevin Griffin’s independent songwriting skills for artists like Faith Hill and Martina McBride.
The inaugural Krewe of Rocckus marks an evolution of the band and their musical genre as a brand. Over 20 years later, the band members have families and are looking to steer away from the strains of non-stop touring. The Krewe of Rocckus event was a way to respond to the demands of their fans, embrace their love of music and New Orleans culture, while adapting to their lifestyles.
Road to Mardi Gras Tour
The Road to Mardi Gras Tour grew out of the Krewe of Rocckus concept and is visiting major cities across the U.S. with the tour’s grand finale in New Orleans for Krewe of Rocckus. In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme, comparisons have been made to a giant second line traveling down to New Orleans. According to band member Tom Drummond, “Our city is known for its unique culture and music, so it was a perfect fit to have New Orleans’ funk powerhouse Big Sam’s Funky Nation be a part of our Road to Mardi Gras Tour. It’s going to be one hell of a Second-Line down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.”
Big Sam’s Funky Nation is a blend of rock with an improv-style associated with jazz and a horn-heavy front section known as a hallmark of funk. The band has also been seen in multiple episodes of HBO’s Treme.
The Road to Mardi Gras Tour concert reviews have been mostly positive thus far and marks a turning point for the band’s over 20 year career highlighting not only their philanthropic work but also their cultural drive to build on the momentum of New Orleans rebirth.
- New York
- Ft. Lauderdale / Miami
- New Orleans