It is nearly Mardi Gras time in Saint Louis and while we may not throw the same level of party as New Orleans, our celebrations put everything else in a fifty-mile radius to shame. While the rest of the United States formerly observes Mardi Gras on March 4th, Saint Louis can't wait that long. You can't keep the good people of Saint Louis away from a party that long.
Our city-wide carnival of music and beads starts in late February, with events kicking off on the 22nd of the month (although officially, Mardi Gras related events have already started!). Everyone in Soulard and onward gets in the carnival spirit, and the musicians and music venues of the city are no exception.
If you are impatient to get the party started, several Saint Louis locales will be throwing their own pre-Mardi Gras bashes. The Ten Mile House on Gravois is hosting a solo acoustic preparty featuring artists Sheila Shahpari, Pat Listson, Blue and Jen Lutke. Over at the Broadway Oyster Bar, Dash Rip Rock from NOLA will be bringing their “high-octane roots rock” to the stage all night.
When the 22nd of February comes around, there's really only one place in Saint Louis for the best in Mardi Gras celebrations, and that is Soulard. The historic Soulard neighborhood has been the place to go since Saint Louis started celebrating Mardi Gras openly in the 1980s, and has only grown in size and scale since then. Of course, the best part is the parade, but there's lots more to do if you know where to look. For a full list of events going down in Soulard, you can visit the official Mardi Gras in Saint Louis website.
Local alternative music station The Point will be throwing their own Mardi Gras shindig at Bar 101 on Soulard, with live music from Greek Fire and the Steve Ewing Band. If you like your music - and your dress code - a little more formal, there's the Mayor's Mardi Gras Ball; yes, the price of entrance is a high one hundred bucks, but it all goes to a good cause.
At the Old Rock House, the Gateway Pet Guardians is hosting their annual Les Boondoggle Ball, featuring performances by tribute bands The Who-Band and The VCR's. Not only do you get great live music, but there will be cute dogs in costume! What's not to love? Back at 2720 Cherokee, their Mardi Gras adult dance party is hitting things off right with a tribute to Daft Punk. And yes, you read right: there's going to be a pyramid light show.
Remember, one of the biggest draws of Mardi Gras is the ever-flowing alcohol. So check the age restrictions of all events to see if they are only for people aged twenty-one and up - and bring your photo I.D. to all celebrations. Don't bank on the folks at Soulard not checking!
How will you be spending your Mardi Gras this year?