I had a first trip to the Festival International in Lafayette so I wanted to share a quick review and a few tips to share…
Prices are often cheap as I experienced as well. I got an Alamo car rental for eleven bucks a day and Motel 6 was thirty five a night. Other ways you can save a few bucks is to fly directly into Lafayette and stay at the Blue Moon Saloon where you can actually walk to the festival which is only a few blocks away. The other big plus is the festival is FREE.. Yep.. Unreal considering the level of talent that play from countries all around the world.
While the main days of the festival are Saturday and Sunday you can come in a day or two early or stay an extra day as there are festival event artists both on Thursday and Friday.
There are a ton of great Zydeco and Cajun bands that not only play at the festival, but play at surrounding locations incase you want to get away from the festival for a bit. I left the festival a little earlier on both Friday and Saturday nights as there were Zydeco bands (Jpaul and Keith Frank) at El Sido’s, a local bar about 10 minutes from the festival. The advantage of this festival is if your not a huge dancer, you have the best of both worlds as you can hang around with 90 percent of the crowd who are just watching the artists and not dancing. If the main reason your going there is dancing then you can dance at the festival and at the bars away from the festival.
While at this festival your dancing on cement and there are not a lot of dancers compared to Cajun/Zydeco dedicated festivals, it is easy to ask for dances and everyone is very friendly. If you do go to a local Zydeco bar at night and if it is a young local crowd for a Zydeco dance and there are not a lot of tourists, do to peer pressure and other factors you can get turned down a bit more than what your normally accustom to at big festivals like festival Acadians, Gator By
the Bay etc.. The ideal situation would be to bring a small group of dancers with you so you have enough dancers who you know in addition to dancing with the local Zydeco dancers.
Here are a few experiences that you may get to enjoy while your in Louisiana..
1. Waffle House at 2am when the bars close…
2. Kicking around beer bottles and cans on the dance floor as your dancing
3. Loosing your voice from trying to yell over the music
4. Café Des Amis on Saturday morning for the Zydeco party.
5. Getting lost and asking for directions from a local resident.
6. Complete strangers coming up and talking to you.
Overall it a wonderful festival and there is a reason why Louisiana is
rated so high for tourism..