Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Downtown Alive! is more than a free, outdoor concert; it’s also a springboard to love, and here are two couples who prove it.
By Anna Purdy Photos by Robin May

By now the cliché of music and love entwined is so ingrained that mentioning it seems redundant. “If music be the food of love, play on,” said Shakespeare, now quoted in a good portion of the wedding invitations you’ve seen. Ask people in Louisiana what they were doing when they met their significant other and you will invariably get two sensory memory triggers — what they were eating or what they were listening to. We accept it as a matter of course that when music swells in any performance the protagonists are about to meet, or kiss or do any manner of things best left off-screen or offstage for bashful eyes.

Yet clichés only earn their keep by staying true. In celebration of this year’s Valentine’s Day The Ind is eschewing the pasty-faced, diapered Cupid of lore and focusing on what is real — after 30 years of Downtown Alive! performances many couples have met and gotten together because of the allure of free, live music. And the food. And maybe some booze. Hey, no judgment here.

LivingIND2David & Lynette Brown
Met Oct. 11, 1985
Rocking Shapes played

It turns out being stood up can be a good thing — in the Browns’ case. “I was at DTA! with friends for my going away party. I’d accepted a new job out of state, and my date didn’t show up, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Lynette. “Needless to say, I didn’t take the job out of state.”

Lynette walked with friends from DTA to Chris’ Poboys — which younger folks now know as Pamplona — where The Fenders were playing. “They had just started playing one of my favorite songs. I turned to the stage and David was standing there,” Lynette recalls. “He put his hands out in an invitation to dance.” Five years later at Hotel Acadiana, David and Lynette were married. In the more than 26 years since that first DTA!, the couple still attends the regular event. “This story,” Lynette says, “reminds me of how much fun we had, so we’ll definitely make plans to attend when the season starts again. I’ve told the story of how we met many, many times over the last 24 plus years. Everyone has the same ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ reaction. The story is very corny but true.”

LivingIND1Erin Ryan & Matt Marietta
Met Nov. 18, 2011
Tab Benoit played

Tab Benoit was that evening’s soundtrack to Matt Marietta and Erin Ryan’s meeting. “My friend Erica had been talking about setting me up with Matt for about a month before we actually met,” says Erin, a transplant to Lafayette by way of Patterson. Erin has lived here for two years and is the public relations director for LITE. In November, Matt was in from Houston. A mutual friend intended to introduce them at DTA!, but fate beat the friend to the punch.

“I was working the Southern Screen Film Festival tent that night,” Erin recalls, when friend Julie Bordelon introduced her to a group standing nearby. Matt was in the group, and quickly the pair realized it was each other they were supposed to be fixed up with that evening by a different friend. “Instantly we both started laughing because it was not how we would have expected that we would have met,” Erin says.

The following week saw both Erin and Matt traveling to make Thanksgiving family plans but texting the entire time. “When I returned home, he called to ‘ask me on a proper date’ as he said. We had our first date at Cochon, and it was so much fun.”

Downtown Alive! continues to unite new lovers and reunite long lost ones. Check out our sidebar for the list of DTA! performances this spring season. Save it so you can remember to attend. Who knows what could happen for you at a live show?

Downtown Alive! shows take place Friday evenings. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. with music beginning at 6 p.m. Smoking and pets are prohibited in the park. Concessions are sold and there are plenty of restaurants downtown to grab a bite at both before and after the show. Confirm rain cancellations at downtownlafayette.org or by checking theind.com. These performances are always free — they are supported by concession sales at the events and also Cox Communications, Lafayette Coca-Cola and Let’s Get Totally Clear.

Street parking is free downtown after 5 p.m. and there is ample parking in the tower adjacent to Parc San Souci, a block from Parc International.

Downtown Alive!
Spring 2012 line-up
March 9: Warren Storm, Willie Tee & Cypress
with special guest G.G. Shinn — Parc International   
March 16: Feufollet — Parc International
March 23: Cowboy Mouth — Parc International
March 30: Louisiana Red — Parc Sans Souci
April 13: Lost Bayou Ramblers — Parc Sans Souci
April 20: Nik-L Beer — Parc International
May 4: Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings — Parc San Souci          
May 11: Lil’ Buck Sinegal — Parc Sans Souci
May 18: Creole String Beans and the annual Bread Pudding Taste-off
 — Parc Sans Souci
May 25: Lil Wayne & The Same Ole’ Two Step — Parc Sans Souci          
June 1: Rareluth and Royal Teeth — Parc Sans Souci

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