New music, BBQ and tacos fest coming to Baton Rouge

Festival producer and restaurant owner Eric Carnegie describes the planned Bandito Food & Music Festival as “a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll, a little bit south of the border and a little bit Americana.”

Carnegie is producing the summer festival, scheduled for June 22, with Chris Brooks, an organizer for the Baton Rouge Blues Festival. The duo also recently produced the inaugural Baton Rouge Oyster Fest last June.

Carnegie, who’s worked downtown since 2007, is organizing the event because of what he says is the economic impact festivals and events have on downtown businesses.

“We’re just utilizing the venue that’s built out there and putting it to use,” Carnegie says. “The economic value of events like this, it’s fantastic. It can be Mardi Gras five times a year.”

Carnegie says he’s expecting the festival to attract more attendees than the Oyster Fest, which had roughly 8,000 attendees. Organizers are also planning to promote the festival on a national level, with promotions planned for Austin, Nashville and Memphis to attract out-of-state visitors to the festival.

The festival celebrates barbecue and tacos, and it’s musical lineup features alt-country performers Son Volt, Old 97’s, The Bottle Rockets and Shooter Jennings. Local acts The Grinders, a side project of Meriwether’s Drew Reilly, and The Hitchhiker are also scheduled for the free festival that’ll be held at downtown Baton Rouge’s Galvez Plaza.

Jay Ducote’s Gov’t Taco and Jay D’s Barbecue, Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine and BRQ Seafood & Barbecue are among the confirmed food vendors that will compete for the title of Best BBQ and Best Taco during the day.

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