Sings & Strings Festival makes a comeback

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

GARYVILLE — Music styles from jazz to oldies, blues to country, soul to pop, and folk to bluegrass will highlight the Garyville Timbermill Museum Association’s Sings & Strings Festival set for Sunday, November 6 in Historic Garyville.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at locations along Historic Front and Museum streets. In addition to music, a cook-off and crafts fair will be featured.

More than 100 musicians are expected to participate in the event, which raises money to restore the buildings and grounds in the Garyville Historic District. Musicians from throughout Louisiana and Mississippi will travel to Garyville to accompany other musicians in performances on the porches of landmarks of this historic district. Among the vintage landmarks are the Garyville Timbermill Museum, White’s Pharmacy, the Dr. Ory House, the Navarra Pool Hall, Garyville State Bank, and Slick’s Saloon, which is now Fatty’s Restaurant.

“The purpose of the festival is to give people the confidence they need to play with others, learn something new, meet new people, and grow as a musician,” said Peyton Falgoust who founded the festival in 2014. “I believe Garyville’s historic district is the perfect place to provide a welcoming and casual atmosphere for musicians to join together without judgment.”

Falgoust also is excited about the festival having renovated landmarks to showcase. R.J. Ory recently renovated two Sings & Strings jam spots and St. John Parish staples, The Bank and The Navarra Pool Hall.

“As one of our biggest Historic District supporters and preservationist, R.J. is kind enough to once again allow us to use his venues for the day,” Falgoust said. “These beautiful venues are available to rent for parties and weddings and other events year-round. I’m grateful to R.J. and his wife, Rochelle, for their generosity, donating the use of these venues.”

Ory and Colin Duhe also have been working with the Garyville Timbermill Museum Association and the Louisiana Steam Train Association to utilize the old Timbermill museum building and grounds as its headquarters. Their plans are to relocate the steam train from the Ochsner main campus to the museum grounds at 148 Museum Street in Garyville.

“Bringing one of the oldest steam locomotives in the state to our historic Garyville and St. John the Baptist Parish and partnering with the Louisiana Steam Train Association is extremely exciting for the future of our community,” Falgoust said.

Many of the musicians are happy to participate in this festival since money raised benefits a worthy cause – the restoration and the Garyville Timbermill Museum, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, and its surrounding buildings and grounds listed as the Garyville Historic District. In 2014, the Louisiana Secretary of State donated the museum and its surrounding property back to the Garyville Timbermill Museum Association with the hope that the community can restore the building and open the structure for tours and educational exhibits.

Since 2014, a grassroots effort has been underway to preserve the museum and surrounding grounds. The association established non-profit status. And, the Sings & Strings Festival was the association’s first fund-raiser.

Organizers are excited about this year’s festival, since it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida. Over the years, several renovations projects were completed to the museum. The museum and some of the surrounding buildings, however, were severely damaged during Hurricane Ida. Repairs are currently being addressed.

Musicians interested in participating may text Peyton Falgoust at 985-233-0168.  Advance entry to the festival is $5. Advance tickets are available at Fatty’s at 186 Museum Street in Garyville, or message the Sings and Strings Facebook page. Entry at the gate is $8. For information on entering the cookoff or arts fair message the Sings and Strings Facebook page.