Startin' a FIYA
Chris Rogers has been heavily immersed in the New Orleans music scene since a young age. He noticed early on that he had a serious passion for music and the industry supporting it. Friends and family, who include some of the city’s very best musicians and industry professionals, noticed this passion too and encouraged Chris to somehow get involved in the scene on a professional level. This stirred up ideas and talk to pursue a venture such as Fiyawerx, but the right opportunity never seemed to present itself.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Chris decided to act on the seed that was planted years before. By this time, Chris had been putting on a friends-and-family crawfish boil every year for almost 10 years. The appropriately named Family Funktion started out small in 2003 and by 2011 had grown organically into an all day event featuring live music from legendary musicians Leo Nocentelli (The Meters), Bill Dickens (Stevie Wonder) and Jamal Baptiste (The Baptistes) plus funk superstars, and Rogers’ good friends, Stanton Moore (Galactic) and Eric McFadden (P-Funk). The 2011 event also featured live sets from The Revivalists, a Fiyawerx favorite that has since grown into one of the biggest nationally touring bands out of New Orleans.
Needless to say, the event was a huge success and an epic time for everyone there. When it came time to plan 2012’s Funktion, Chris had an idea to turn the boil into an event no one would ever forget. Chris began planning the now-unforgettable 2012 Family Funktion. After the pieces were in place and the line-up set, Chris knew there was still something missing. He had gotten so much from the music community in New Orleans over the years that he couldn’t help but figure out a way to give back and this event gave him the perfect platform to do just that. Through a mutual friend, Chris was connected with The Roots of Music co-founder Derrick Tabb and after talking and learning about his program, which dedicates its efforts to teaching and empowering the city’s at risk youth through music education, Chris felt that this was something he wanted to support in any way he could.
With the historic Hotel Storyville as the backdrop, over 200 of Chris’s friends and family and a plethora of all-star music acts, including a who’s who list of musicians in town for Jazz Fest, embarked on a day-long fest of great funk and great food and by the end of the day had raised a substantial amount of money for The Roots of Music. With the goal of creating an unforgettable event accomplished, Chris knew he couldn’t stop there. And thus, Fiyawerx Productions was born.
By the end of 2012, Fiyawerx began to produce shows at local clubs around New Orleans and the success of the shows multiplied surprisingly with each one. With a growing list of top artists and industry connections at arm’s length, it wasn’t long before they expanded their range of shows to Chicago, Chris’s current city of residence. Both the New Orleans and Chicago markets seemed to welcome Fiyawerx with open arms and continue to be great settings for the stellar line-ups being brought to each city.
Today, Fiyawerx is best known for the flagship event, Fiya Fest. More or less an evolution of the idea behind the 2012 Family Funktion, Fiya Fest is an all-day music festival and crawfish boil that, after only one year, stands as the largest event in New Orleans outside of the fairgrounds during Jazz Fest and benefits The Roots of Music.
Fiyawerx Productions is extremely proud of the strides we've taken to put on great shows with great musicians for great audiences and we promise to continue to produce quality events with the betterment of local communities in mind.