The Big Burly Man isn’t going to rock the night away. Instead, he and the other performers are going to croon, melodize and lyric the house down.
As the organizer of the first ever Baton Magique Indie Folk Festival on Oct. 6, The Big Burly Man—known as Baton Rouge singer-songwriter Donald Gelpi when he’s not on stage—wants to shine a new light on the Baton Rouge music scene.
Gelpi first came up with the idea for a new festival after hosting and attending a lot of open mic events, where he says he saw many amazing performers.
“We have some serious talent right here in Baton Rouge, like ridiculously good,” Gelpi says. “I’m not just talking about mediocre, or ‘That’s OK, I can listen to it.’ No, I’m talking about blow-your-mind. I could see them touring the United States and Europe and everything and selling records.”
He wanted to organize an event that would showcase this talent to a crowd. The idea was to make something bigger than just a run-of-the-mill show—something where performers would have more than family and friends attending.
“People don’t know who you are, so they’re not going to come out,” Gelpi says. “You’re just a name. If there’s an event created around it, people will come to events and then they will witness for themselves just how much talent we have.”
The festival will be held at Tin Roof Brewing Co. It features 12 performances, including Gelpi as The Big Burly Man, Ship of Fools, Amelia Ryland, Kristen Foster, Ben Blair, Logan Ashley, J.M. Fritz and Ryan Harris, Ameal Cameron, Randolph Thomas, Mumble Morris, Evan & The Riverlites and Palomino Darling. There’ll be art vendors along with the food trucks Big Cheezy and Geaux Cuban.
Gelpi says one act he’s most excited for is musician Mumble Morris.
“She’s a phenomenal guitar player, her voice is so soulful, just a lot of range, a lot of emotion,” Gelpi says. “I’ve seen everybody before, so I’m more excited for everyone else to see them.”
Gelpi hopes this festival will become an annual event, but is just focused on enjoying the first one for now.
“This is the first year we’re doing this, and this is my first festival—I’ve never done this,” Gelpi says. “I’m sure it will get better as time goes on. But our first runaround, I think it’s going to be pretty exceptional. I’m excited about it.”
The Baton Magique Indie Folk Festival is set for Oct. 6, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tin Roof Brewing Co. is at 1624 Wyoming St.