Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Festival International de Louisiane - Best World Music Festival - Come Festival With Us in Lafayette, LA

Parc International for Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette Louisiana
It's that time of year again: time to come to Lafayette, Louisiana to experience the world's premiere exhibition of Francophone culture, art, music, food, and entertainment at Festival International de Louisiane.

From their "History & Mission" :
"Festival International de Louisiane is a community-based, non-profit arts organization formed in 1986 to produce an annual visual and performing arts festival celebrating the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana - primarily a combination of French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences. The largest outdoor, FREE Francophone event in the U.S., the Festival places special emphasis on highlighting the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Each year performing, and visual  artists from Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean and the Americas are invited to share their talents with Louisiana artists, residents and visitors.
Since its creation, Festival International de Louisiane has become famous as a premier presenter of some of the most unique world musicians and performances in the United States. Popular Louisiana artists such as Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Allan Toussaint, Zachary Richard, Sonny Landreth, Beausoleil, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, Amedee "Bois Sec" Ardoin, D.L. Menard, Terrance Simien, C.J. Chenier, Geno Delafose, Marc Broussard, Marcia Ball, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Canray Fontenot and Buddy Guy have all performed on our stages."
That's right - deep in the Heart of Cajun Country there's a global gathering of french-speaking people and cultures that converges on Lafayette, LA every year to celebrate our rich heritage, delicious cuisine,  and foot-stomping music and the best part?

It's 100% free & open to the public!

Festival International de Louisiane Home Page
Because Festival International de Louisiane is sponsored by the Lafayette Consolidated Government (here in Lafayette we have combined our municipal and parish [you might call them counties where you're from] governments into one]) as well as a host of corporate sponsors) visitors from anywhere in the world can come down and celebrate all that is wonderful about Francophone cultures with my fellow Cajuns and all of the entertainment is provided gratis.  De Rien.

Although the music, art exhibits, street shows, etc are free to the public, you will want to bring both a significant appetite as well as a few dollars (most vendors at Festival International de Louisiane accept cash only, except the food trucks typically) to sample some of the most delicious morsels of cuisine your lips have likely ever tasted.

This year's Festival is not only the winner of the About.com Reader's Choice Award for Best World Music Festival, it's also a bit higher-tech than usual.  I've written about Lafayette, LA's innovative Fiber Optic Network and the excitement around that system's impact on health care.  But the impact of Lafayette's burgeoning and rapidly developing technology ecosystem is also being felt on Festival this year.

First of all, they've created a Interactive Musical Lineup Creator that allows visitors to run through the entire schedule of shows and create a custom line up of only the acts they want to see at the time they want to see them.  It also shows which bands are performing on multiple nights which makes figuring out conflicts between acts you want to see a good deal easier.

Festival International de Louisiane
About.com Winner Readers Choice Best World Music Festival
Even neater?  You can share these with your friends so you'll know where everyone is going to be during the festival!  You can also share them publicly, as I did here, so that everyone can see what great musical performances you're going to be enjoying while at Festival International de Louisiane.

They've also released a couple of Mobile Apps for Festival-Goers (I've only tested the iPhone version available here, but this year there is also an Android version available) that will pull the information you save when logged into the site down to your mobile device so you can keep your Custom Lineup with you as you see everything Festival has to offer.

And, if you're like me and are a bit of a history buff, you may enjoy reading this post in the Calzone Media Blog from Herman Mhire on the history of the founding of Festival International de Louisiane.

So what are you waiting for?  Come Festival With Us!