WATSON -- With COVID-19 restrictions loosened, live music was back last weekend in Livingston Parish.
So were the crowds.
A trio of popular bands from across southeast Louisiana entertained a crowd of music-crazed visitors in the official return of Cinco Watson Fest on Saturday, May 1.
Dubbed “Livingston Parish’s biggest party,” the all-day blowout lived up to the hype, with thousands of people gathering for a fun-filled day at Casa Maria Mexican Grill in Watson.
For music, people featured New Orleans-based bands Bag of Donuts and the Molly Ringwalds in addition to hometown favorite The Chase Tyler Band. It started raining at one point, but the crowd only screamed louder, refusing to leave after a year of mostly being inside.
The scene was much different than the restaurant’s Cinco de Mayo celebration last year, which came at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and while the state was still under a stay-at-home order.
In adherence to the governor’s orders placed limits on crowd sizes and businesses, business owners had to revamp their traditional celebrations into smaller outings.
For restaurants, those stipulations included no tableside service, no indoor seating, no groups together of more than 10, and at least 6 feet of space between tables. Many restaurants converted their parking lots to outdoor dining areas, and customers also sat in their cars, on tailgates, or brought their own fold-out chairs.
For Casa Maria owner Fahim Jamil, it wasn’t the same.
“Last year was tough,” Jamil said in advance of last weekend’s celebration. “We didn’t have near the number of the people we usually have for this.”
This year was much closer to normal as people danced, enjoyed drinks and food, screamed for their favorite song, and partied all day and into the night.
Bag of Donuts opened the festival, bringing their flare for kabuki make-up and extravagant costumes to stage while playing a slew of classics from the 1980s.
The Chase Tyler Band took over from there, with frontman Chase Tyler leading the crowd in a constant shout of “Hell Yeah!!” Singer Amber McCann rocked the crowd at several points.
The Molly Ringwalds, an 80s cover band, closed the night with a bang, rocking the crowd with a stunning light show and movable set that had fans cheering for more.