Battle of the Bands Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photofiles

Red Bull Street Kings, a brass band blowout in New Orleans, featured four brass bands — Free Agents, The Stooges, To Be Continued (TBC) and Soul Rebels — who marched through the historic Tremé neighborhood followed by a traditional New Orleans second-line parade, to center stage under the Claiborne Bridge.

One by one, each band performed in front of more than 5,500 energized fans, spectators and music lovers, with each band vying for the crown of Red Bull Street Kings. In the end, it was The Stooges who prevailed over the grueling competition.

Hosted by the “Crown Prince of Tremé,” Glen David Andrews, this unique competition gave “wings” to each band’s musical ambition while paying tribute to the rich musical legacy of the New Orleans streets. 

null Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles

At the pinnacle of New Orleans musical history are the time-honored brass bands. Dating back to the 19th century, the New Orleans brass band tradition has influenced nearly all genres of music including traditional and modern jazz, rock, country, funk, hip hop and more.

“It’s about so much more than just the bands,” said Stooges fan, Charlean Jackson, “It’s about the whole culture—the performance, the Mardi Gras Indians, the second-line parades and most importantly the passion.”

Each band was given the unparalleled opportunity to perform for well-known New Orleans music and cultural icons “Uncle” Benny Jones, Gary Holzenthal, Allison Reinhardt, Gregory Davis, Fred Johnson and DJ Mannie Fresh, who served as judges for the competition. Challenged to demonstrate their ability to incorporate traditional brass band standards and originals turns, bands were evaluated on appearance, material, energy, musicality and innovation.

“Today was a big day for the brass band culture. It was a beautiful event, and nothing like this has ever been done before.” said Stooges trombone player, Walter “Whoadie” Ramsey. “The people of New Orleans made us who we are, the first ever Red Bull Street Kings.”

With the win, The Stooges march on with not only the title of Red Bull Street Kings, but also the opportunity to record in the prestigious Red Bull Studio in Santa Monica, California. 

null Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photofiles

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