Essence Festival Weekend #tudgaf

See us soundcheck? We just played our first show in New Orleans!!

Let’s set this recap up:

View this post on Instagram

Starting that funk off right! 🥰🥰🥰🥰

A post shared by Tightn’ Up! (@tightnupband) on

Our lovely drummer Mikol had the foresight to reach out to some music venues on his radar a few months ago, and so far, none had responded.

Then SURPRISE! One of them DID reach back out with an offer we could not refuse: For Tightn’ Up! to be their featured act on Friday and Saturday night during the 2019 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL WEEKEND!!!

Like, for real. Funkin’ real. And the establishment looking ‘to shake things up a bit’ with a two-nighter with Tightn’ Up! ?

Pretty Isn’t It?

Little Gem Saloon, “at the jazz corner of New Orleans” a historic night club over 100 years old, located within walking distance from the Superdome (the epicenter of Essence Festival). Kurtis Ruffins is a regular on their stage 🙂

This is just one main program area at the Essence Music Festival

In 2018, over five hundred thousand people were in New Orleans from all over the world to attend the Essence Music Festival! Little Gem Saloon’s location places them in a central hub of Essence Music Festival where people are out walking and taking in the sights, events, and street vendors that surround the club! They felt like Tightn’ Up! would be perfect for the weekend to bring in folx looking for a night of music and fun, but may not be headed to the main concerts at Essence. We accepted the gig with excitement and then got to planning!

What can be seen behind & across the street of Little Gem Saloon. Black woman and vendors of alll types!

The Essence Festival, known as “the party with a purpose”, is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States. Learn more here.

All Systems GO!

It was another out of town #TUP road trip, and we only had two weeks to get everything together!

We expected the car rental costs to be through the roof considering we were very last minute in attempting to rent an SUV on 4th of July Weekend! But thanks to our membership with ASCAP as music writers and publishers a benefit of membership is a sweet lil discount on vehicle rentals!

You can see Urica and Mayadia were very happy how it all turned out…lol.

Mikol grew up in a town about an hour away from New Orleans, surprise! We are so grateful his family agreed to open their doors and hosted us for the weekend!

Mikol was already at his parent’s spot in Louisiana, so Friday the rest of the #tudgaf crew piled into our rented tour ride and headed to meet him! This may become our official tour vehicle it rides so smooth!

Hatter Hideaway

After an amazing first show on Friday night, with folx coming off the streets to see what our funk was about, Saturday we had some time to enjoy the lovely features of the Hatter Hideaway (i kinda like the sound of that…lol) before our evening show and got some more surprises….

band member lounging poolside before a big gig
Mayadia soaking in the sun!

Hatter’s parents did so much more than we ever expected! They cooked delicious food for our musical souls, we had our own quarters to lay our funk down and they had a pool!

Dragonfly Summer

We had some visitors to let us know all was good in the Tightn’ Up! Hood of Funk because we had not just one, but TWO dragonflies encounter with our #tudgaf fellas!

After delicious homemade turkey burgers, hot dog, and Sunkiss we all took a dip in the pool. As we were getting our funk wet…lol, in landed a delightful dragonfly who did not want to leave Mikol or Brandon alone!

First, he landed on Brandon’s hand, just like that! and sat there! Then he flew and sat on Mikol’s shoulder a while….lol.

And THEN, when we stopped for gas at least 30 minutes away from New Orleans, Mikol comes back to the tour Suburban with another visitor! JUST CHILLING!

After this second instance, Mayadia had to look up dragonfly symbolism from what’s-your-sign. Yea, these dragonflies are definably welcome to hang with our funk ANYWHERE!

Summary of Dragonfly Symbolic Meanings:

  • prosperity
  • good luck
  • strength
  • peace
  • harmony
  • purity
4th of July rural setting with a black woman with a rainbow looking at US flag decoration
Symbols of Funk’s Freedom

FUNK NOTE: 1 of Mayadia’s favorite songs is Michael Franks’ Dragonfly Summer…it’s a pretty chill groove. #listen

Funking out at Little Gem Saloon

We turned the Little Gem Saloon into another outpost of our Tightn’ Up! Tabernacle of Funk! About 40 people came out Friday night, and a lil over 60 on Saturday! We even had a crew that reserved a table when they bought their advance tickets to our show. They said that our show was a part of their original plans for Essence Music Festival, and they liked what Little Gem Saloon had to offer Saturday so they bought their tickets and were ready to #funkwithus !

Big ups! to Little Gem Saloon for having us out, the venue is soooooo beautiful and jazz chic and our sound fits perfectly in your establishment! We cant wait to come back and do it again!

We are so thankful for our crowds both nights! Groups of women, wives and their husbands (one couple had designed matching red tees for each other), and even full families with the grandparents, adult children, and their teens and friends!! Everyone who came from near and far and took a chance on an unknown funk band from Houston, TX and you showed out with us! We may not have sold out the place but it sho did feel like it!! Much love you all!

Coming Soon Bonus: Yadifree and the Houma Hammock

Just watch, you’ll see what else happened at the Tightn’ Up! Retreat…lol. Editing the video now…lol.

Leave a Reply