For the 17th year, the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival and River Run will return to the downtown riverbank area Sept. 20-21. There will be music, kids, games, arts and crafts vendors, hot air balloon rides and a lot of meat pies!
This year, the festival has a theme of “Celebrating the Summer of 1969” and will host numerous activities and entertainment that will pay homage to that era.
The River Run, kicking off at noon Saturday, is hosted by the Independent Riders of Natchitoches, a local organization dedicated to riding for the joy of riding. All group proceeds will benefit local non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of El Camino Reál. Brewfest, open to anyone 21 and older, is Friday from 6-8 p.m.
On Friday, gates open at 5 p.m. and the first band playing is If They Ask at 5:30 p.m. They were formed February 2019 and have been playing festivals across Louisiana since June 2019, including the Avoyelles Arts and Music Festival and NSU Pridefest. They consist of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Austin Dismer, lead guitarist Caleb Callender, bassist Josh Wiggons and drummer Zach Moreau. “We’re really excited for Meat Pie Festival and look forward to performing. We’re just ready to rock out!” said the band.
American Petty, with Stevie Nicks tribute performer Leigh Ann Bramlett, will perform from 7:30-10 p.m. “Yes, we are looking forward to this show in a couple weeks! We have been together almost two years now. We are a true authentic Tom Petty tribute band in that when we perform we do our best to sound and look like you are really at a Tom Petty show. Of course, we lost his greatness last year sadly but that’s even a greater reason to move his legacy forward with grace and efficiency,” said the band. With six members, they perform all throughout the southern region of the states. As Tom Petty did, they do not take breaks and can play for a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes. “That weekend we are also bringing along a friend of ours who plays Stevie in a Fleetwood Mac tribute here in Dallas called Forever Mac. She is terrific and will be performing alongside us as she often did with the Heartbreakers and she will also do a couple Stevie classics as well. It should be an amazing time.”
It wouldn’t be a Natchitoches festival without fireworks, which will be lighting up the sky after American Petty performs and again Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
If They Ask will perform again at noon Saturday, and the Clifton Swamp Band will perform at 2 p.m. “We are excited to be going back to the Meat Pie Festival this year! We were there last year. We had an awesome time,” said the Clifton Swamp Band. The band plays swamp pop, Cajun Zydeco, country and more. “Some of our members are young boys. We have a set of twins, Lucas and Danny Clifton, that plays the drums and the bass. They are 12 years old and the accordion player Josh Clifton is only 16. Chad Clifton is the lead singer and guitar player, John Clifton is the keyboard player and Priscilla Smith is the backup singer and rub board player.”
Playing at 4 p.m., the Front Cover Band is a Top 40 cover band based out of Shreveport. “We pride ourselves on versatility and covering hits from Old School Classics to New School Chart busters. We’ve done several festivals and look to enjoy the great meat pie eating this festival tends to bring,” said the band.
Local band Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs will take to the stage at 5:30 p.m., and Bad Moon Rising, a tribute to the Creedence Clearwater Revival band, will perform at 8 p.m. “We had a blast last year! Bad Moon Rising is a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute. We cover all their hits and many more. We also do some John Fogerty solo music, who was the songwriter and vocalist for CCR,” said the band. Bad Moon Rising formed in 2008 after lead guitarist Steve Combs attended a live concert featuring Fogerty. Combs decided to share his love of CCR’s music, creativity and idealism by forming a band with others who shared that passion to keep the music alive. Also in the band are Chris Combs on rhythm guitar, Jason Akers on bass and Thomas Chaney on drums.