Thousands of dollars in equipment stolen from marching band days before Jazz Fest concert

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The Stooges Marching Band scrambles to get ready for their Jazz Fest performance on Friday after their van with thousands of dollars worth of gear is stolen in Central City.

“We were training here. Everything was good. Working on new songs because we’re getting ready for Jazz Fest,” said bandleader Walter Ramsey. “Roland [Taylor] called me around 6 a.m. maybe 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning and it was like, ‘Man, the van is gone.’ I was like, what? What do you mean gone? »

Members of the Stooges Brass Band say they practiced on the evening of Wednesday April 27 at the Rabbit Hole in Uptown until about 10 p.m. The band’s drummer, Roland Taylor, said he parked the van near his mother’s house in Central City, Thursday morning the van was gone.

“I’m like, the whole van? Like, not the tires, nothing broke. A whole van just disappeared,” Taylor said. “I had two batteries that I had just bought [in the van].”

Additionally, he said there was an amp, microphone, instrument stands, two keyboards, personal items, and all of his cymbals.

“I had about 10 cymbals in this case,” he said. “I mean it was about $1,500 to $2,000 worth of cymbals.”

He said that in total, the band lost about $10,000 in gear, including the van.

“Setback is not the word,” Taylor said. “It’s a fall…it comes from having everything to having nothing. As if a hurricane has passed and taken everything away.

Now the Stooges are scrambling to recover.

Ramsey said they are now trying to find replacement material and borrow from other New Orleans musicians.

“Our life is in this van. We cannot play music without these instruments,” he said. “We play music that pays for my kids’ school, you know. Pay water bill, electric bill, rent, mortgage.

It’s been a frustrating week for the Stooges while trying to commit to gigs.

“I can’t let our fans down,” Ramsey said. “And I can’t let down the club owners who rely on us to be there.”

With no leads on what happened to their van and gear, the group tries to stay positive. They will continue to play with a little help from friends.

Fans from near and far are stepping up to help the band recover. Click on here for the GoFundMe.

“We try to work. That’s all. We just want to play. That’s all. We just want to play and have fun,” Ramsey said.

The Stooges Brass Band is committed to playing all upcoming shows, including a performance this Friday, May 6 on the Congo Square stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

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Ada J. Kenney