The Ponderosa Stomp — which celebrates the unsung and off-the-radar heroes of the golden age of soul, R&B and rock 'n' roll — returns to New Orleans for its 12th edition with two nights of music, a music conference and record fair. It's one of four notable music festivals on the fall calendar.
The Stomp has evol-ved from a late-night series after Jazz Fest to a full-fledged fall weekend festival for record crate diggers and all-ages music heads. There was no 2014 event, but it returns this year with a lineup of soul stars such as Barbara Lynn and Irma Thomas; Texas rocker Roy Head; Motown's Brenda Holloway and Mable John; and Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon performing with the luchador-masked wild surf-rock band Los Straitjackets.
The Stomp hosts concerts at Rock 'N' Bowl Oct. 2-3. Tickets are $100-$110 for a two-night pass; $60 for each night. Visit www.ponderosastomp.com for more information.
The fall's mainstream marquee music festival, the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, returns to New Orleans City Park for Halloween weekend Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Dark prince of rock 'n' roll Ozzy Osbourne performs with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and top-hatted Guns N' Roses shredder Slash, as well as Osbourne's Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler — the supergroup's only performance is Halloween night in New Orleans. (Sabbath's 2016 farewell tour, however, isn't scheduled to make a New Orleans stop.) Electronic power couple Jack U (Diplo and Skrillex) — which released the Justin Bieber megahit "Where Are U Now" earlier this year — also performs. John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, brings his reunited Public Image Ltd. to the festival, marking Lydon's return to the city after the aborted launch of an all-star Jesus Christ Superstar tour set to begin in New Orleans last year.
Other Voodoo headliners include Florence + The Machine, mouses modest (Modest Mouse) and dead (Deadmau5), electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder, and up-and-coming rappers Chance The Rapper and Joey Bada$$ (performing with the Soul Rebels). Tickets are $86 for single-day admission; $195 for three-day general admission. Visit www.worshipthemusic.com for details.
For the 10th annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ festival, held Oct. 16-18 at Lafayette Square, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation brings together New Orleans music luminaries Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas with the Funky Meters (Terrence Houston, Art Neville, George Porter Jr. and Brian Stoltz) for "Ride Your Pony Down to New Orleans: Home of the Blues." (Toussaint wrote the namesake Meters classic.)
The festival's blues and R&B lineup also includes Swamp Dogg, Jarekus Singleton and an Excello Records reunion, featuring Lazy Lester, Carol Fran and Classie Ballou. (The long-gone Nashville-based label also released records by Louisiana artists Warren Storm, Slim Harpo and Lightnin' Slim.) The festival is free; visit www.jazzandheritage.org for details.
New Orleans' DIY punk label Community Records holds its eighth annual Block Party music festival Oct. 23-24. Typically a single-day event, the 2015 Block Party
spreads over two days at Gasa Gasa on Freret Street with a roster anchored by Community veterans like All People, Donovan Wolfington, Woozy and a dozen others. Tickets are $25 for a weekend pass (includes a pre-fest show at Hey! Cafe on Oct. 22); $15 for Oct. 23; $20 for Oct. 24. Visit www.communityrecords.org for details.