Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs have been synonymous with the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival for its entire 22 year history.
Not only are they the only band to have played the Festival every one of its 22 years, but they actually loaned the Festival their sound equipment during its formative years.
“Oh, both the Festival and The Moondogs have come a long way in the last 22 years, ” laughed Festival Chairman and The Moondogs bandleader, Rodney Harrington. “In those first few years when we were just trying to get the Festival off the ground, it had no money to pay for sound equipment and so The Moondogs simply loaned our equipment to the Festival.”
Fast forward 22 years, and the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival has become one of the top music festivals in the south, featuring national artists like this year’s headliners Starship, Ohio Players, Rick Derringer, and Maggie Rose and also featuring a state-of-the-art sound and light system.
At the same time, The Moondogs have become one of the most popular and in-demand acts in Louisiana and, indeed, the entire region. They have been referred to one music critic as “Quite simply, Louisiana’s best show band.” They have garnered several awards, and performed across the south including being invited to perform for the last six years at the hugely popular “Bands on the Beach” concert series in Pensacola, Florida. Robbie Schrock of the Santa Rosa Island Authority who books the event, called The Moondogs: “The best band we have ever had perform at Bands on the Beach.”
Wherever The Moondogs travel to play, they always promote their hometown.
“We kind of feel like we are unofficial Ambassadors of Natchitoches on the road,” said Harrington. “At Pensacola every year for example, we teach the folks in the crowd, which always numbers in the thousands, how to say ‘Natchitoches’.”
The Moondogs will be performing on Saturday on the main stage, and will be joined by Rick Derringer, and Derringer’s old band mate with Edgar Winter’s White Trash, saxophonist, John Smith.