Look for the Honey Island Swamp Band to play its older songs and new material from an upcoming album at its Beauvoir Park concert on Saturday night.
Look for the Honey Island Swamp Band to play its older songs and new material from an upcoming album at its Beauvoir Park concert on Saturday night.
Honey Island Swamp Band plays a sweet Southern blend of rock, funk, country and blues.
A band composed of Gulf Coast natives based in New Orleans, the group returns to Beauvoir Park on Saturday. This second appearance there by Honey Island Swamp Band is another bright spot on the venue’s budding spring schedule.
“The last show that we played there could not have gone better,” band singer Aaron Wilkinson said of Beauvoir Park, an outdoor concert space alongside the Perkins Road overpass. “It’s a cool, funky place and our music translates well in that environment.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Honey Island Swamp Band played about 150 shows a year.
“I don’t know when, if ever, we’ll get back to that kind of volume,” Wilkinson said. “But we’re happy to be getting out in front of people again.”
Wilkinson and his bandmates recently returned from a six-show run through Florida, their most road gigs on a single trip in two years.
“As for being a traveling band, we got our groove back,” Wilkinson said. “We saw a lot of old friends, made some new fans and sold a lot of T-shirts. The enthusiasm was contagious.”
This spring, Honey Island Swamp Band is playing both of New Orleans’ biggest music events, the French Quarter Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
“It’s been an on-again, off-again type of thing,” Wilkinson said of the cancellations and postponements that plagued musicians and the latter two festivals in 2020 and 2021. “That’s been trying for everyone, but you roll with the punches. I’m cautiously confident that they will make it happen this time.”
During the pandemic shutdown, Wilkinson pivoted into the music business. Booking bands and musicians for front porch, backyard and cul-de-sac concerts, he founded his own company, Front Porch Gigs. He also became the talent buyer for outdoor weekend concerts at Faubourg Brewing Co., formerly Dixie Brewing.
Becoming a talent buyer was a natural move for Wilkinson. He already knew everyone in the New Orleans music business.
“And everybody loves playing out there (at Faubourg Brewing),” he said. “It’s a beautiful, huge place with a family-friendly, kid-friendly, dog-friendly vibe.”
In 2005, Wilkinson co-founded Honey Island Swamp Band with other New Orleans musicians who were exiled to San Francisco after Hurricane Katrina.
“We came through the other side of that horrible situation with this band, which has defined my life,” he said.
Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Wilkinson moved to New Orleans in 1998. He and his friends in Florida were looking for a place that would enable their dreams of being professional musicians.
“We talked about New Orleans or San Francisco,” he recalled. “We settled on New Orleans. If we had been in San Francisco or Los Angeles, we would have been working two or three jobs to support ourselves. New Orleans, at least at that time, was affordable. We stumbled into that.”
In 2020, as the pandemic loomed, Honey Island Swamp Band was nearly ready to release a new album.
“And then everything went down the tank,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve been holding on to the album these past few years. We’re getting close to finding the right partners to release it.”
The band’s return to Beauvoir Park will feature the group’s older songs and new material from the forthcoming album.
Following permitting issues last year, Beauvoir Park recently resumed open-to the-public music events. Meanwhile, the park is accepting private-club memberships. As of last week, the venue had sold 165 memberships, all within the first month that memberships were available, said owner Leslie R. Bratton Jr. The park plans to cap membership at 350.
“We definitely want to go private,” Bratton said. “And places like Beauvoir Park should be popping up all over Baton Rouge and any other place. It’s a community-based kind of thing.”
6 p.m. Saturday
Beauvoir Park, 2834 Greenwood Drive, Baton Rouge
$25, $20 for BP members or
Email John Wirt at
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