Blown Away on the Bayou

October 16-20, 2024 | Sunset, Louisiana

The idea for Blown Away on the Bayou came about through a series of pie and tea conversations with founders Jim Phillips, Christy Leichty, and Grant Dermody. A shared love of music led to the idea of a harmonica summit to celebrate and teach the rich history of the harmonica in Acadiana, touching on both Blues and Cajun styles. In 2021 the inaugural Blown Away on the Bayou took place at the Whirley Bird, an underground honky-tonk located in Sunset, Louisiana. Year two saw the expansion to include Blues guitar, mandolin, fiddle, accordion, and the addition of vocal instruction. As the Summit continues to grow, the founders intend to provide an immersive experience where Blues lovers from all over the U.S. and abroad can learn, share, play, dance, and eat together.

The mission of Blown Away on the Bayou is to enrich cultural understanding, nurture musical passion, and celebrate the Blues in the Acadiana region. Participants, both in our region and well beyond, are offered an immersive experience to explore the profound impact of the Blues, to dig more deeply into the study of Acoustic Blues, and to come to an understanding of its historic significance. The Summit offers a space to experience, discuss, demonstrate and jam the blues openly, thereby creating an environment that will encourage those in attendance to discover their own unique approach to the Blues and to play with their own authentic voice.

Join us for the third annual Blown Away on the Bayou Harmonica/Blues Summit in the heart of Acadiana. World-class musicians and teachers from Louisiana and beyond offering beginning, intermediate, and advanced Blues instruction in harmonica, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and accordion. Full-time, part-time, drop-in, seminars available. Don’t play, or don’t want to take lessons? No problem! We have live music and dancing too!

About the Whirlybird Compound and your hosts for the Summit

On the day Bo Diddley died, the blues seeped out of a weathered tin building, hidden from view as the sun set. Up the wooden stairs, across the screened-in porch, slide open the heavy wooden door of the old Texaco warehouse and step inside—an old fiberglass coin-operated kid’s ride resembling a helicopter stands—the building’s namesake. Welcome to The Whirlybird.

While The Whirlybird has an intriguing history and even earned a feature in Southern Living Magazine, Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips, purveyors of fun, have chosen to keep it a private, non-commercial space – an underground honky tonk. The Whirlybird lives on as more than just a place—it represents an underground movement driven by a passion for fun and an unwavering commitment to celebrating with friends. The perfect location for Blown Away on The Bayou … (as described by – Reese Fuller, journalist/author)


The Whirlybird Project is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant and inclusive community, fostering cultural exchange through immersive experiences, and providing an environment where individuals can come together, have fun, and contribute to the celebration of diversity and creativity.

World Class Instructors

Grant Dermody


Chris Miller

Cajun Harmonica

Cedric Watson

Fiddle & Diatonic Accordions

Rich Del Grosso


Joe Filisko


Teka Briscoe

Gospel Choir Leader

Corey Ledet

Piano and Diatonic Accordians

Jerry Devilier


Frank Fotusky


Ed Poullard



Check out these video segments from past years at summit.

“Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment of the Arts.”