Festivals Acadiens et Creoles will not take place in the traditional format this year, our media partners at The Advocate report.
Festival organizer Pat Mould confirmed Thursday that this year, the festival, scheduled for October 9-11, 2020, will be a largely virtual event.
Organizers were concerned due to the extension of Phase Two in Louisiana and a recent rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, especially in Acadiana.
"It's not prudent to put people in the park," said Mould. "We had to come up with a strategy for holding an event and protecting people."
Mould explained that organizers are looking into various virtual options, including archived footage from previous festivals.
"It’s kind of an historical moment. Festival has never not been live. But we think we can offer great festival experience still for fans and supporters, those who have grown up with the festival and who have introduced it to their kids and their kids’ kids.”
Mould told KATC on Friday that the virtual event will allow organizers to, from an artistic standpoint, "shine a light on who we are, how we eat, how we dance, how we live to a global audience. From a virtual standpoint, we'll be able to reach a tremendous amount of people."
The Festival's Board of Directors released an official statement on the change:
"After carefully considering both the health and economic issues at stake, the board of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles has decided that we cannot in good conscience plan to hold our live event as planned in Girard Park this October. Given the ongoing challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it would be irresponsible to host a public event where people would gather in large numbers, especially as COVID cases continue to rise in Acadiana and considering the scientific community’s prognosis for the fall.
That said, we feel a deep responsibility to do everything we can to continue to support our community, especially the musicians, artisans, restaurant owners and vendors who have been among the hardest hit economically by the current pandemic. That’s why we have announced plans to offer a number of virtual events and opportunities to our loyal fans during the weekend of October 9-11, 2020.
The details of this “virtual” Festival Acadiens et Créoles are still being worked out, but will likely include live performances in controlled settings, as well as historical performances from our vast archives — all broadcast via the internet and other media. We are also exploring options to make food from our vendors available via takeout, though we are deferring our planned dedication to Cajun and Creole cuisine until 2021. We are happy to be working with our colleagues at Festival International, building on their highly successful experience hosting a virtual festival last spring. More details will be shared as they are available, and we look forward to celebrating our area’s unique local culture with everyone this fall."
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