The name has been updated to the more inclusive Festivals Acadiens et Creole but it’s the same great trifecta – music, food, and crafts – and it all happens this weekend, October 11th-13th, at Girard Park in Lafayette. The music is an excellent sampling of the best that South Louisiana has to offer. In particular, it’s one of the best opportunities in South Louisiana for dancing in the dirt. Some of my personal recommendations for music …
Friday, 5:15-6:45 P.M. – Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie with special guest Joel Sonnier
Friday, 7:00-8:45 P.M. – Jambalaya Cajun Band with special guests Jimmy C. Newman, Belton Richard, and D.L. Menard
Saturday, 10:45-11:45 A.M. – Lee Benoit and the Bayou Stompers
Saturday, 3:00-4:00 P.M. – Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble
Sunday, 4:30-5:30 P.M. – Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band
Sunday, 5:45-6:45 P.M. – Michael Doucet et les Amis Cadjins
Sunday, 6:00-7:15 P.M. – Wayne Toups & ZydeCajun
The Friday night combinations are the most intriguing part of the line-up.
Geno Delafose has a zydeco pedigree that goes back to when he was playing drums with his dad, John Delafose. (It looks like it could be Geno playing drums in the “Passion Fish” clip.) They both played in an old school style because they use the button accordion, not the keyboard accordion common to most zydeco bands. Joel Sonnier is an interesting almost crossover performer. They were trying to make him the next big thing in a Louisiana-Nashville connection. He never quite made it to stardom but he is still beloved by a lot of South Louisiana folks. It’s an interesting pairing. Sonnier showed up with Tab Benoit at this most recent Jazz Fest and that was some killer set. Hopefully, the string will continue for this pairing, too.
Jambalaya Cajun Band is a great update on the red-suspenders Cajun band tradition — vintage & modern all at the same time. (The video from Randol’s is a great example of why the South Louisiana dance halls are so much fun. All of the generations come and dance together.) They have a fascinating array of guests for this concert. Jimmy C. Newman is a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry. D.L. Menard is the composer and original performer of “La Porte En Arriere” (The Back Door), possibly the most iconic Cajun song ever recorded. (Yeah, “Jolie Blon” could be argued as the other contender for this claim, too.)
The Sunday set by Michael Doucet is also intriguing because of the billing. He’s usually playing with Beausoleil and billed as a featured member – “Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet“. This Festivals Acadiens set is specifically billed as “Michael Doucet et les Amis Cadjins”. Back in 1980 he released a kind of proto-Beausoleil album with almost exactly the same name. It mostly included musicians that would become members of Beausoleil. One of the guest performers on the recording was Joel Sonnier. Dare we hope that Sonnier is going to make a Sunday appearance at the festival as well as a Friday one?
None of the other recommendations involve special pairings but they are all worth a look. Oh, … and put on your dancin’ shoes.