Students and Baton Rouge residents can get to know the historic North Gate area through the 14th annual North Gate Music and Arts Festival on Friday, Nov. 15.
The event was originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 25, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Held on Chimes St. between Highland Rd. and Infirmary Rd., the festival is a celebration of the unique history and culture of the North Gate community. This year’s festival will feature food from Chimes, Louie’s as well as other North Gate vendors including a new taco truck expected to set up residency in one of the North Gate locales.
Approximately 27 artists from jewelers to painters will be presenting their art and selling their work at the festival. Moreover, there will be beer provided by Abita and Crescent Crown and wine provided by Calandro’s available for purchase as well as the first-ever bike giveaway provided by The Bicycle Shop and the return of the costume contest. Entrance to the festival is free.
The lineups for the two separate stages are packed with local talent. The Abita Main Stage will feature performances from BR School of Music from 5 to 6 p.m., Palomino Darling from 6:20 to 7:20 p.m., RiaRosa from 7:40 to 8:40 p.m., returning band Ship of Fools from 9 to 10 p.m. and J and The Causeways from 10:20 to 11:20 p.m.
“That’s one of the things that we really focus on in the festival is to try to spotlight the up and coming local and regional bands,” festival director and organizer Beth Zagurski said. “Our singer-songwriter stage, which is located in our artist section, will have all Baton Rouge natives or local musicians that are currently working in Baton Rouge and that’ll be acoustic, and then we’ll have our main stage.”
Historically, the North Gate area of LSU has served as a shopping, dining, and entertainment district right off campus for University students, faculty, staff and Baton Rouge residents. The area houses a wide variety of restaurants where students can grab a bite between classes or enjoy a dinner with friends after an exam-infested week.
From the first ever Raising Canes to the ever-popular Chimes, the area is full of landmarks. Highland Coffees is a beloved study spot for students and coffee lovers across the University, Bengals & Bandits sells LSU clothing and gifts you can spot on tailgaters during game day and nothing hits the spot quite like Louie’s hash browns after a night out in Tigerland.
“I’m totally biased here but I think it’s one of the few festivals that happen in Baton Rouge that, first of all, takes place in a historic place in Baton Rouge,” Zagurski said. “There’s a lot of history there. Two, it’s more like something you’re going to see in Austin or Portland or other areas of the country that really value culture, original music and art. It’s, I daresay, a little bit more in the progressive side so it’s one of the few ones in Baton Rouge that add to that.”
The festival is hosted by The North Gate Merchants Association, a 501( c) 6 non-profit organization committed to improving the business, residential and social climate of the North Gates area of LSU. According to their website, their goal is to enhance the aesthetic qualities and the accessibility of the neighborhood, while preserving its diverse and historic character, and strengthening all links to LSU and nearby communities.
“It’s that type of culture event that, if you’re a business owner, you want to have in your city,” Zagurski said. “And outside of that, it’s a great event. Everybody has a good time, we’ve never had an incident at Northgate, we have families that come out when it’s light and then, after dark, everybody hangs out in the street listening to music, talks to one another. It’s just, it’s chill, it’s fun and it’s free.”