Arcade Fire and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band have teamed up to form a Mardi Gras marching krewe that will make its debut during this year’s Carnival festivities. Dubbed the Krewe du Kanaval (a reference to the Haitian word for “carnival”), the group will parade through New Orleans’ historic French Quarter on Tuesday, February 6, just one week before Mardi Gras Day.
The celebration will kick off at Preservation Hall—home of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band—at 2pm before swinging to New Orleans’ famed Congo Square for a free, three-hour block party. Once that wraps up, the procession will make its way to French Quarter music venue One Eyed Jacks for the Rhum and Drums Kanaval Ball, where the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, several Haitian musicians, and Arcade Fire leaders Win Butler and Regine Chassagne are slated to perform.
Krewe du Kanaval is the latest way that Arcade Fire have embraced the Mardi Gras spirit of New Orleans, a city that Butler and Chassagne have called home since 2014. The indie rock giants joined forces with the Preservation Hall guys for a David Bowie parade after the rock legend passed away in 2016, and they used a Mardi Gras parade as the backdrop for the video for their 2017 single, “Electric Blue.”
However, Krewe du Kanaval will celebrate Haiti as much as New Orleans. Membership fees for the group start at a pricey $1,000, with all proceeds going to a KANPE, a nonprofit aid organization that works on health, agriculture and education issues in Haiti. The group was founded by Chassagne, who was raised in Montreal by Haitian immigrant parents that fled the country during the Duvalier dictatorship of the 1960s.
[Photo: Emily Ferretti]