Sizzlin’ hot Louisiana sounds … this week!
Louisiana is an eclectic melting pot of conservatism and oil industry execs mixed with innovative, eco-friendly artists. It’s no secret that Santorum won over the state, yet despite cuts in arts funding, from the Sazerac-infused community emerges a strong-willed and exciting palette of talent with others flocking to be part of the scene.
And with the state’s love of the arts, music and good eats come some of the most enjoyable festivals in the world. Louisiana’s fusion of flavors, sights and sounds brings us to About.com’s 2012 World Music Readers’ Choice Award winner, Festival International de Louisiane, April 25 – 29 (officially).
What began as an outdoor festival in 1987, Festival International now brings hundreds of thousands of attendees into the heart of Downtown Lafayette to celebrate a plethora of electrifying shows, films, arts & crafts and more. And entry into the festival is FREE!! Mainly Francophone-centric, in the past it has highlighted artists such as Les Yeux Noirs, Balfa Toujours and The Duhks while also including MarchFourth Marching Band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yerba Buena and Keb Mo.
The fun continues this week, with the official start having kicked off last Thursday, bringing groups such as Ceux Qui Marchent Debout, Gary Clark Jr., the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Savoy Family Cajun Band and Pittsburgh’s Rusted Root.
In addition to this weekend’s stage shows, during the Louisiana International Music Expo (LIME) this Friday afternoon at the Blue Moon Saloon, musicians mingle with buyers and presenters. Monday night festivities included a showing at Cité des Arts of Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life about French icon Serge Gainsbourg. More info on the festival’s film series can be found at Soirées du Cinéma. Check out the full music line-up on the festival site or download the festival’s free mobile app. But whatever you do, don’t forget to BUY THAT PINto help keep the festival free.
Also beginning this weekend is the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, April 27 – May 6, held at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Born from a small festival with 350 attendees in 1970, the celebration now reaches over 600,000 and has showcased talents from Mahalia Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Buckwheat Zydeco and Aretha Franklin to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joni Mitchell, Youssou N’Dour and Linda Ronstadt.
Who’s on this year’s jazzy list? Get ready for this! Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver, Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, Ziggy Marley and SO MANY MORE! And don’t forget all the scrumptious Louisiana flavors, crafts and cultural exhibits. For more information, and to get your tix, go to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
“Serving all communities, all ages, and families too, only at Jazz Fest 2012 will you find a roster like this! At its heart, the New Orleans Festival celebrates with our own, from our dynamic nationally emerging homegrown talent, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Givers, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and Galactic; to our sacred icons, Allen Toussaint, The Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, Pete Fountain, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In addition, this year may be the broadest and most powerful line up of “special guests”, including: Eagles, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighters, the Zac Brown Band, Ani DiFranco, Ne-Yo, Paulina Rubio, Al Green, My Morning Jacket, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bon Iver, and on and on and on. This holiday season, Jazz Fest truly has a gift for everyone.”– Quint Davis, producer and director of the Festival (some artist names were altered due to schedule changes)
If you don’t have the chance to make it down to Lafayette or New Orleans this week, you can still check out one of Louisiana’s brilliant talents here in Seattle this Saturday, April 28. Grammy-nominee Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole will be at Meany Theater as part of the UW World Series. You can also catch a session on KEXP with Cedric May 9 at 7:30pm on The Roadhousewith Greg Vandy.
(Original article posted 4/24/12 on American Standard Time.)