A Beginner’s Guide to the 2013 MSPS New Music Festival

After taking a scheduled year off in 2012, the McNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival is returning to downtown Shreveport, Oct. 11-12, 2013. Friday night’s prelude festivities are a partnership of Unscene and the MSPS organizers, and will be held in the 700 block alley between Crockett and Cotton Streets. Saturday night’s festival proper will be held at the McNeill Street Pumping Station, an otherworldly site that houses the last operational steam-powered waterworks in the United States. Does all of this sound like it could get really weird, really fast? It can. And it does. But, if you roll with it, it can also be one of the most thrilling and enlightening arts experiences you’ll ever have in Shreveport-Bossier. Here are a few of the performers that I’m particularly excited to see and hear at this year’s event:

Homer Flynn – Friday Night
A Shreveport native and 1963 graduate of Byrd High, Homer Flynn is a member of is a rumored associate of The Residents, a bizarre music and performance art collective from San Francisco who are recognized as experimental music pioneers. It’s a big deal that Flynn is performing in Shreveport. I have no idea what to expect from this set – I get the impression that no one knows what to expect from this performance – but I can’t wait to see what transpires.

A photo of Alvin Fielder
Jazz drummer Alvin Fielder. Image taken from www.alvinfielder.com for promotional purposes

Alvin Fielder, Kidd Jordan and Chris Parker – Saturday Night
Taken as separate entities, these three performers are jazz and free jazz legends. Jordan has performed and recorded with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra. Fielder is revered as a Max Roach-style jazz drumming icon. Parker has taught at the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp in New Orleans. Even as a relative newcomer to jazz, I’d be stoked to see this trio perform anywhere. The fact that they’re performing at an experimental music festival inside of an 1880’s waterworks in Shreveport…just kind of blows my mind.

Dickie Landry and Jason Robira – Saturday Night
A founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, a Laurie Anderson collaborator and the man who invited Paul Simon to Louisiana to collaborate with zydeco legends on my favorite album of all time, Graceland, Dickie Landry is a larger-than-life figure in Louisiana’s musical landscape. If MSPS had a headliner, he’d be it. Landry will be performing with Jason Robira, a multi-instrumentalist from Lafayette. This should be one heckuva performance.

Admission to Friday night’s prelude event is free, but admission to the main event is $20. Lots more info is available on the event’s website. The entire schedule of performers (it’s more of a list, really) is here.

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