Corporate and in-kind donations, as well as pin purchasing and other fundraising endeavors all help to not only keep Festival International de Louisiane free, but also keep it up and running, too.

By the way, Festival International has been named Best World Music Festival in the Readers' Choice Awards. See story in another A&E blog.

There's another tangible that is, well, intangible: Volunteers and time, respectively.

"Even more important is the donation of personal time," says Dana Baker, executive director of Festival. "It's the thing that makes it even more important to us because without volunteers, Festival could not happen."

Volunteers - all 2,000 of them - and their time are the oil that keeps the wheels of the springtime event turning smoothly for its five-day run in downtown Lafayette, this year set for April 25-29.

A volunteer meeting, actually, a volunteer special event called a Festival Experiment is set for Wednesday, April 4, at 6 p.m., at a location you'll find out about only after you register to volunteer on the Festival site here.

A rather coy Baker will only say this about all of that: "What I'll say is Google MP3 Experiment and watch a couple of them and you'll get an idea what we're going for," she says. "That's all I'm going to say."

When you sign up online you'll get a link with more information.

"Instructions will be sent out via email," says Baker. "Not everybody gets the same link. It will give you instructions as to where to go and what to bring."

Anyway, a volunteer orientation follows at 7 p.m., at the Jefferson Street Pub.

Baker says all volunteers are equally important and so is the time they donate. "The guy who handles the recycling is just as important as the person feeding the artists," she says. "All of those things we can't live without.

"We're totally fortunate that people are willing to give two hours. Some give 20," says Baker. "Even those two hours has a huge impact on us."

Likewise, volunteers who have been on board at the festival's creation and those who will volunteer for the first time this year are treasured.

"If you volunteered for 16 years and if you volunteer for the first time this year, it is equally as important and appreciated," she says.

Now in its second year, Festival volunteers can sign up online for the shift they want instead of waiting for an assignment. It also comes with a reminder.

"You don't have to wait for someone to call you," Baker says, adding that since people know their personal schedules, they are better able to make time to volunteer. "You can register right there for your own shift."

There's also a volunteer center on site where people can sign up as soon as they get off the shuttle in the area of Lee, Convent and Jefferson streets. It's for people who didn't get around to volunteering and it also serves as a back up for volunteers who aren't able to make a shift for whatever reason.

"Life happens," says Baker. "Things happen. Sometimes work comes up and people can't make their shift."

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