By: Howard Greenblatt
Surrounded by beautiful massive trees dressed in draping Spanish moss, the 16th Annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival was held in Houma Louisiana on October 11-13.
Organized by Tab Benoit, the Voice of the Wetlands Festival seeks to call attention to the disappearing swamp habitats in Southern Louisiana. Benoit says that the issue is a very personal one for him.
“I live in the heart of it,” Benoit said. “I grew up on 300 acres. We have 40 left. That’s a big deal. You tell anybody who has 300 acres of land in 20 years you’re going to have 40. It’s not that somebody took the land. It’s not land anymore. It’s open water. The places I wrote my first songs are gone. The places I learned to play and camp and hunt and fish are gone."
"It’s open water now. It used to be cypress swamps and bayous and trees. That hits home when it happens so fast.”
Aside from being stunningly beautiful, swamps are home to lots of different kinds of plants and animals and people.
They filter and clean water and add oxygen to the air. Swamps enrich our lives in many ways.
Those lucky enough to be there experienced gorgeous 70 degrees days, great local cuisine and art and the best lineup of musical talent ever. Guitar slingers, Eric McFadden, Eric Johanson, Johnathon Long, Chris LeBlanc, each played sets with their individual bands but they also hit the stage with Tab for a massive, all in at once jam. In theory, it sounds kind of risky (and really loud) -- but it worked, it really worked.
Massive, penetrating guitar noise…it couldn’t have been better!
These guys each front their own bands and never played together before, so when they hit the stage, Jonathon Long said it was like putting a bunch of animals in a cage to see what would happen.
Mike Zito came to Voice of the Wetlands with a big band of horns and the powerful voice of Annika Chambers. They played for 2 hours straight, mixing up the sets to keep it exciting for the fans and the musicians.
Have a look at some images from the individual acts that made this gathering a celebration of the music, and the region as a whole.
Jonathan Long Band
Eric McFadden featuring Doug Wimbish and Terence Higgins
Jeff McCarty Band
Jenna Guidry Band
Nonc Nu & the Wild Matous