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Each season, we invite local, national and international musicians and performers to create new experimental works in residency at the Music Box Village.




An illuminating performance series in total darkness

created in collaboration with Kelly Love Jones

Kelly Love Jones_PitchDk2

March 21, March 28, April 11, and April 18    7:30PM

*Please note that there will be no late seating for these performances*

New Orleans Airlift and songwriter/storyteller Kelly Love Jones team up to create a series of performances centered on the sharing of stories, music, food, and the unique ways in which we perceive the world. The performances, which happen in total darkness, tell the tales of a far-off utopia that might just exist all around us. Through the adaptation to sightlessness, imagination reveals hidden worlds and new means to interpret reality.

Pitch Dark developed as shared vision between Kelly, her producing partner Lakeba Angelle’ and Airlift several years ago. Since that time, the concepts and immersive elements have been workshopped in an intimate version staged in one side of their double shotgun home. The response to those exclusive, invite-only performances was overwhelming, leading to an extended run of shows up to twice a week throughout the winter of 2018. Each performance concludes with a communal three-course meal served by Lakeba Angelle’ ( Vegan Chef NOLA ).

This new expanded version of Pitch Dark is made possible through a grant from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and features elements beyond Kelly’s spellbinding songs and Lakeba’s delicious food, to include an array of profound artistry: dance, spoken word, storytelling, drumming, “sensory enhancements” and more surprises to bring you into this world of darkness, and back out again for a shared meal under the stars in the Music Box Village. Our cast includes Jebney Lewis, Sula Spirit, Icon, Journey Allen, Wesley Chavis, Akelah Sherman, Necai Byrd and more!

Each ticket includes the performance and dinner.
Drinks will be available at our bar.
Performances are limited to 70 attendees. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
Ticket price includes full three-course meal, a ceremonial welcoming by Sula Spirit, and sensory enhanced performance.

-Purchase Advance Tickets Here-

The Coronation

a new opera about bees

and the natural, and dramatic, process of crowning a new queen

coronation banner

Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6

7:00PM Doors, 8:00PM Show

New Orleans Airlift celebrates Spring with a new, experimental opera by Louisiana-born musician Bernard Pearce about bees and the natural, and dramatic, process of crowning a new queen. Featuring new musical themes by Jonathan Freilich and a cast of amazing local improvisers including Helen Gillet, Julie Odell, Anais St. John and more – this adventurous, hyper-collaborative performance explores the rivalry and competition inherent in the hive’s search for a new leader, with all of its sorrow, brutality and grandeur. The Coronation is the second large-scale original production of experimental music, dance, and visual art helmed by Airlift for Spring 2019, in our flagship site and project, the Music Box Village.

Additional performers, working with both conventional instruments and the musical houses of the Music Box Village, include Jenny Lavine, Cassie Watson, David Symons, Janna Saslaw, Martin Krusche, Danielle Kaufman
and members of Balkan choral group Trendafilka.

-Purchase Advance Tickets Here-


Bernard Pearce is a Louisiana native, born in the rural community of St. Martin Parish. He attended St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico and returned to Louisiana to pursue a life immersed in music and art. He has owned and operated several music and arts venues in Lafayette, Louisiana. Bernard has recorded and released two full-length recordings with his band One Man Machine and has toured internationally with this group. He has participated in a residency sponsored and organized by The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York City. Bernard also read at the Allen Ginsberg memorial. He has recently published a collection of poems, photos, and visual art entitled The Deed to My Bones. Over the years he has become increasingly more interested in opera as an art form, as it combines so many different aspects of creative disciplines. His interest led him to attend several performances of the Santa Fe and Metropolitan Operas, and eventually to join the Caravan Stage Company, where for three years he immersed himself in every aspect of producing modern opera.


Guitarist/Composer Jonathan Freilich has been an active part of the New Orleans music scene since his arrival there in 1989. Almost immediately, he found himself as a sideman for notable locals such as Kermit Ruffins, Michael Ward and The Reward, and Sun Ra trumpeter, Michael Ray.  In 1992 he co-founded the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars (NOKAS), a pioneering klezmer ensemble that infused that music with the vibrancy and energy of the funk, jazz and brass music of New Orleans.  Recent work includes a comic-satirical opera, Bang the Law, about a couple of New Orleans lawyers and their movements through New Orleans class detritus after Hurricane Katrina, a two-movement orchestral fantasy about Elias Cannetti at Carnival, and an octet reduction of Peter and the Wolf for a New Orleans Contemporary Art Center/Guggenheim foundation presentation.  Most recently he completed work on a second opera, ee me & cummings thee.

Tickets on sale now for


During Jazz Fest, we welcome world-class improvisers and renowned artists
into the mix at the Music Box Village.

Robert “Sput” Searight of Ghost-Note plays the “Junkit” during “The Essence of Time”, May 2018. Photo credit: Camille Lenain

Damo Suzuki’s Network

featuring Quintron, Benni, Alli Logout (Special Interest), and many more!

Sunday, April 28  7PM Doors

Damo Teal Half Blank

Ghost-Note’s “Junk Yard Funk Jam”

featuring secret special guests!

Friday, May 3. 7PM Doors

GN full band press photo

Ticketing Info: 
Online Will Call ticketing will close on the day of the event. Our Box Office opens 30 minutes before Doors for same-day ticket sales.

If you buy online, you will receive a confirmation email. On arrival, check in at our Will Call window with your ID (keep it out for a 21+ wristband!) 

Season Ticket cardholders may bring their membership cards to check in at our Box Office or Gate. Enjoy early entry and seating 30 minutes before we open doors.

Sold-out shows will be announced via Instagram and Facebook – if you do not see those announcements – then shows are not sold out! 

Sign up for our Mailing List here!

When coming to The Music Box Village:

Our parking lot is reserved for those who need special assistance.
Please bike or cab if possible.
– Dogs are not allowed at our shows or markets.
– Children are welcome at a maximum of three per adult.
Children must be supervised at all times due to the high risk nature of our site.
– Please do not smoke in, around or near our musical houses.
– Seating is limited, bring picnic blankets or your own seating.
– The venue is outdoors and unpaved, please dress accordingly.
– We provide a reasonably priced bar offering water, cocktails, wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks. Proceeds support the Village! BYOB is not allowed.

Ticketing Refund Policy:

New Orleans Airlift is a federal 501c3 nonprofit — funds donated via ticketing and other giving support our mission to collaborate to inspire wonder, connect communities and foster opportunities through arts education and the creation of experimental public artworks. Your ticket and any other funds donated on site support our education programs and access for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience the Music Box Village.

Artists and musicians are compensated out of ticket sales for the many days of rehearsal and creating new performances – so we are unable to provide refunds. If you can’t use your ticket, we suggest you:

  • Transfer, give or sell your ticket to a friend who can simply give your name at Will Call
  • Come to collect a paper ticket good for use at another show, or request a credit by email to

Given these constraints, our policy is not to offer refunds. If you would like to contact us about a special situation, email us at


Fall/Winter 2016

Preview: Quintron with musicians of OneBeat

Grand Opening: Sunpie Barnes & L’Union Creole with Dédé Saint-Prix

Okolona & Kyp Malone

Halloween: Nightmare on Grunch Street

Tank & the Bangas present Alice Lost with Big Freedia

Lost Bayou Ramblers with Spider Stacy and Rickie Lee Jones

Gogol Bordello

Spring 2017

Sirens of the Shallows: Airlift Masked Ball

Tank & the Bangas reprise Alice Lost with Norah Jones

Bonnie Prince Billy with the Roots of Music & Bitchin’ Bajas

Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Percussion Consortium

Dustan Louque & Nels Cline

Quintron’s “The Wrongs of Spring”

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Aurora Nealand’s MONOCLE: “KindHumanKind”


Fall/Winter 2017

A Viper’s Dream with Ben Polcer & Amy Johnson


Treemonisha with OperaCreolé, Cripple Creek Theatre Company, and New Resonance Orchestra

Halloween: Dante’s Disco Inferno

Elegy Highway – a live film scoring project by Asphalt Serenade
A Boy Scout’s journey across America is told through a 10-piece orchestra featuring David Lovering (The Pixies), Helen Gillet, James Singleton, and more!

Prospect 4 Artist Party with The Dixie Cups, Katey Red, Delish, The Pinnettes

The Discovery of Voyager by Blato Zlato with Helen Gillet, Binky Griptite, Carl LeBlanc, Seguenon Kone, Melissa Guion, FLOCK Dance Company,  Furniture Music Ensemble

Lost Bayou Ramblers “Kalenda”

Spring 2018

Instigation Orchestra

The World’s Unfair – Airlift + Vaporwave Carnival Ball

Tony Allen & Kumasi Afrobeat Orchestra

Animal Collective w/ Aurora Nealand & Helen Gillet

Definitive Figures performance festival

From These Roots: Tif Lamson, Joy Clark, Aurora Nealand, Meschiya Lake, Helen Gillet, Leyla McCalla, Sabine McCalla & Tasche de la Rocha

Ol Eyez Never Die: Ian Vanek (Japanther) & Dee-1 w/  Jay Diggy creating new tracks, Meschiya Lake-Härm, Kataalyst AlcindorVoice MonetSheila Santamaria and Karen Wallace (formerly of Jean Eric) & Shawn Randles

Mike Dillon’s Punk Percussion Consortium

The Residents

Weedie Braimah’s Essence of Time w/ Ghost Note, Mononeon, Bill Summers & many more

Boukman Eksperyans & Preservation Hall

Polymnia Quartet & students of Homer Plessy School

Fall/Winter 2018

Building the Impossible 2nd Annual Dinner featuring Nels Cline of Wilco, Sunpie Barnes, Tif Lamson & Ben Polcer on “Porch Life”

Tony Allen & Kumasi Afrobeat Orchestra Return! 

Promised Estates: immersive “haunted house” created with Yamil Rodriguez

Halloween Trick or Treat “Scary Fair” for kids

Sun Ra’s Arkestra directed by Marshall Allen

Teddy’s Twilight Serenade

Holiday Throwdown with Queen Kold Madina

Snow Ball with Alli Logout, Bobby Bonsey, BRIDE, Benni Divine, Ha Sizzle, Pandora Gastelum, Triple Threat NOLA & more.


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