"We feel that what we put out, nobody can duplicate," says Charles, the festival director and president of the Southern Development Foundation. "Nobody can duplicate the experience of hearing their favorite band on the main stage of the original Zydeco Festival. You have to be in that bean field."
The event celebrates its 25th birthday this year, still content in the fields of rural Plaisance. A committee from the Holy Ghost Catholic Church ' headed by the Rev. Albert J. McKnight ' started the event as a way to galvanize the Creole community. At the time, many feared for the future of the Creole identity and wondered if the zydeco genre would escape its local roots. The committee decided its community would reconnect through music and increase its solidarity for future generations. The snap bean field was fitting ' as the term zydeco comes from its French expression "les haricots," meaning "beans." Later, the Southern Development Foundation began organizing the event, the festival serving as the nonprofit community group's largest fund-raiser. "If we can revitalize the music, we can revitalize the culture," says Charles.
This year continues the tradition of honoring the legends of zydeco and building the music up for the next generation. The lineup is an unbeatable list of the best in zydeco, including new-generation bandleaders Curley Taylor and Geno Delafose (pictured). Each year the festival also gives an up-and-coming band a slot. "Once you have played at the main stage, you have arrived," says Charles.
Though this year's emerging artist is LA 31, the true twist at the festival is the booking of Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin' Cajuns. The band is well established among local crowds and a huge draw, but the presence of a Cajun band performing a hybrid of Cajun, zydeco and mainstream music (covers of classic rock) is a first for the festival. Laughs Charles, "He [Bergeron] knows he is going to have to come up to the plate with zydeco."
As Charles sees it, the timing is right for Bergeron, and the mix of styles is perfect. Plus, she sees zydeco as colorblind, pointing out the many white fans who frequent the event and local dances. "It has been 25 years of bringing cultures together."
The main-stage lineup for the 2007 Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in Plaisance on Saturday, Sept. 1: LA 31, 10:30 a.m.; Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin' Cajuns, 1 p.m.; Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, 3 p.m.; Step Rideau & The Zydeco Outlaws, 5 p.m.; Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band, 7 p.m.; JJ Callier & The Zydeco Knockouts, 9 p.m.; Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble 10:30 p.m.; Chris Ardoin & NuStep, midnight. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the gate. For more info, visit zydeco.org or call (337) 942-2392.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.