Wear Your Dancing Shoes
This weekend’s Louisiana Cajun -Zydeco Festival brings le bon temps.
Walking through the French Quarter on a summer day, one can often hear the accordion and fiddle. But that music is usually wafting out with the air conditioning from a souvenir shop on Decatur. This weekend brings the real thing with the ninth annual Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival.
Presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, this free two-day festival will take place June 6 – 7 in Louis Armstrong Park and features a lineup of incredible musicians including Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Lost Bayou Ramblers and two-time Grammy Award winner Terrence Simien & the Zydeco Experience.
Festivals are a major draw for tourists, bringing them to town when the average high temperature is 89 degrees Fahrenheit and they might not otherwise come. According to Scott Aiges, director of programs, marketing and communications for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the 2014 festival brought international visitors from Germany, Greece, Holland, Spain and the United Kingdom, and from states including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Jersey and Wisconsin.
“We have been pegging attendance at approximately 8,000-12,000 which is a wide variance because it’s a free festival and we estimate the crowd size. Our best indication is based on concession and craft sales,” said Aiges.
Those sales have a positive economic impact and have grown each year. In 2013, the festival vendors reported sales of $21,721 and in 2014 they took in $33,099. Partnering with local food and beverage vendors, as well as artisans and craftspeople, helps keep the money in Louisiana.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation developed the Cajun-Zydeco Festival with giving back in mind. According to Aiges, “There are no net proceeds from the festival and the total expenses are around $100,000, of which we recoup only $40,000 from our sponsorships and concessions. We still have a tab at the end of the day that we underwrite from our budgeted funds, which are your Jazz Fest dollars at work.”
Aiges continued, “The money we spend on this festival we consider as supporting the community, including our performing artists, vendors, technical people who do the staging, and our media partners with buying advertising. It was never intended to turn a profit, but always meant to be for the community. Whatever we can recoup is great to spend on our educational programming.”
Featuring 10 incredible musical acts, over 25 artisans in the Arts Market, Abita beer, 13 food vendors and a new Kid’s Tent, this free festival is definitely one to attend, whether or not you were born on the bayou.
Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival At-A-Glance
June 6-7 at Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans
Parking lots available at cost, details on the website.
Saturday, June 6th:
11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Bruce Daigrepont
12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mary Broussard & Sweet La La
2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Lost Bayou Ramblers
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas
Sunday, June 7th:
11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Ruben Moreno & Zydeco Re-Evolution
12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Bonsoir Catin
2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience