Savor barbecue and live music at the new Smoke N’ Funk Fest this Saturday

It’s called Baton Rouge’s best-kept secret for live music: a shabby-chic greenspace concealed within the Perkins Road Overpass District. And this weekend, Beauvoir Park (2834 Greenwood Drive) is at it again with the Smoke N’ Funk Fest.

The new event will be held Saturday, Feb. 24, between noon and 8 p.m., featuring outdoor live music, Asian fusion barbecue and cash bars.

The ticketed, family-friendly gathering benefits the new nonprofit, Be Positive, which gives Baton Rouge youth a chance to develop skills in music, fine art and the culinary arts, says Be Positive founder J. Hover, a local music promoter who has organized numerous shows at Beauvoir Park.

“Our mission is to nurture and develop the next generation of Louisiana artists, chefs and musicians,” Hover says, adding that the Smoke N’ Funk Fest is also a kickoff for the March 17 return of Beauvoir Park’s concert series, Soulful Sundays.

Hover is partnering with Baton Rouge Music Studios owner Doug Gay and Chow Yum executive chef and owner Jordan Ramirez on Be Positive. Both businesses are providing programming for the Saturday festival.

Smoke N’ Funk kicks off with live music on Beauvoir Park’s Crosscut Stage from three Baton Rouge Music Studios youth bands. The groups are comprised of teenagers who rehearse regularly at BRMS and play at local events. Gay says giving young musicians a chance to perform in front of an audience develops both life skills and memories.

“For me, it’s like, what are these kids going to talk about at the wedding reception of their friends when they’re 30?” Gay says. “I want Baton Rouge Music Studios to be a topic of conversation.”

Two funk bands take the stage later, starting with New Orleans-based Pocket Chocolate followed by headliner Funk Monkey featuring Arsene DeLay.

As for food, Ramirez and Oak & Smoke BBQ Company co-founder Brandon Thomsen have designed a menu with dishes not found on either of their menus. Visit the food trailer near the festival’s entrance for smoked brisket banh mi with a sweet glaze; bossam, a roast pork shoulder barbecue bowl with kimchi and other accoutrements; green curry boudin and smoked chicken with boiled peanut curry, Ramirez says.

A limited number of tickets will be sold. General admission is $20 and includes entry with food and drinks available for purchase. VIP access is $100 and includes all-you-can-eat barbecue, a VIP open bar, access to private restrooms and a private patio to watch the music. General admission attendees have plenty of lawn on which to spread out a blanket or folding chair. Proceeds benefit Be Positive.

“The weather looks beautiful,” Ramirez says. “Bring your chairs and your appetite.”

Note: There is no parking at Beauvoir Park itself. Organizers ask attendees to park throughout the Perkins Road Overpass District and walk, or consider carpooling, biking or ridesharing. For more information, contact Jeff Byrnes, [email protected].