Festival International de Louisiane is the largest "free" gathering of Francophone music and culture in the country. Their committee hits the ground running literally the day after the festival closes.
It's tough to get all of the music headliners together, but Festival International's success over the years puts them ahead of the others.
"We kind of get first dibs." says Scott Feehan, Executive Director for Festival International. "There's six or seven main agents who work to get music into the United States, and there's a lot that goes into it. Sometimes the challenges come in the logistics and red tape of travel and visas."
It's a big world, and music is what keeps us connected. We can look east to Africa, the continent that has the most French speaking people. Looking to the south we can experience music from the Caribbean. Even to the west toward the Pacific, we can find French influence in music. But it's our family and friends to the north, in Canada, where we have our strongest international bond.
Feehan says, "One of the great things about Canada is there's a lot of governmental support. There's a lot more interest in cultural exchanges between the two countries."
Honoring the Francophone world has been the goal since the beginning. Feehan continues, "Festival started with that in mind. In 1986, the biggest thing we had to highlight was our French heritage and our French roots. Our founders reached out to our sister cities, and that's what go Festival off the ground." Feehan goes on to say, "We have branched out a little, because we have a much more diverse community. So while we're trying to be more diverse, we're still paying homage to our French roots."
How about some Caribbean sounds in the streets of Lafayette? Feehan says, Island Groove is one of the bands we're highlighting. They'll be roaming the streets with stilt walkers and some cool things at Scene des Jeunes and other stages."
Enjoy Festival International de Louisiane. Where the world's music stage is in your back yard!