Festival International Announces Plans for 2021

News from Festival International

Festival International de Louisiane

315 Lee Avenue

Lafayette, LA 70501

337.232.8086 / Fax 337.233.7536

January 22, 2021

For Immediate Release

Contact: Carly Viator, Marketing Director

carly@festivalinternational.org

Festival International Announces Plans for 2021


After several months of exploring ways to safely create an exciting and inspiring event for the community, the Festival team is pleased to announce their plans for pivoting the 2021 event in a way that continues to celebrate the local and international music, arts, food and cultures that the event is known for. As mentioned in a previous statement, it will not be possible to produce Festival International de Louisiane in its usual format this Spring. The final decision it to take the 2020 Virtual Fest structure to the next level by combining live / immersive experiences in Downtown Lafayette, plus community-centered components to create an unforgettable event.

“Our plan is to build upon the momentum we had last year for Virtual Fest and give our supporters and community, near and far, a beacon of light and a reminder that together, through our music and culture, we are all united.” said Executive Director, Scott Feehan. “Festival is our very own unique celebration that we can all be proud of, and we want to continue sharing the magic that unites us. Let’s stick together and get through these difficult times by leaning on each other. It is our hope that this spring, you will join us in supporting our artists, artisans, musicians, restaurants, bars, and businesses more than ever.” he added.

Festival International will once again put the talent of Lafayette onto a global virtual stage combined with some of the finest talent from around the world, while also sharing memories of past festivals. The organization is working with Downtown Lafayette stakeholders, including DDA, DLU, and many Downtown business owners to highlight what makes Acadiana so special. Last year, Virtual Fest entertained viewers from 44 different countries – this year they strive for even more reach. 

The goal as an organization is to hopefully break even this year and not lose more ground after last year. If the 2021 event receives a level of support like in 2020, Festival will come close to hitting that goal.

“You proved to us how much this event means to our community by purchasing merchandise, buying Festival punch, and by sticking with us as sponsors and donors. From Amis to Rain Angels, to local businesses and 5K runners, your support brings the world to our city.” Feehan explained. “Get involved in a way that works for you so we can continue to celebrate together year after year.”

The theme for Festival 2021 is commUNITY, and this message is at the forefront of every angle of the planned event. The team has selected three talented and diverse visual artists to collaborate on a piece of artwork that represents this message of commUNITY. These artists came together without knowing each other prior and accepted the challenge to unite through their diversities to create one unifying piece. With varying artistic mediums, different ethnic backgrounds and ranging ages, the final collaborative piece will inspire the official pin and poster for 2021.

Feehan went on to assure fans and supporters that Festival International recognizes that on the surface, this is not the option that anyone would have chosen without great reason. “But with every challenge comes opportunity.” he added “This is our opportunity to not only showcase Lafayette on an international level, but also to continue growing our technical virtual toolset with advanced capabilities that allow our region’s talent to get global reach. When Festival International is back in full swing, this technology will be key to connecting us as a community with the world.” 

The Festival International family invites everyone to unite with them for 2021 to celebrate the power of diversity and love. Below is an overview of the plans. Stay tuned for the full schedule and more news from Festival International de Louisiane. 

  • April 1 – 30, 2021: FEASTival International – a month of Festival food
  • April 23 – 25, 2021: Virtual / Immersive Festival International
  • April 24, 2021: Live / Virtual 5K

Update to our supporters

To our Festival supporters,

I hope you and your loved ones are all doing well during this crazy time. You are receiving this update because you supported us in the past two years – either as a volunteer or a financial supporter. Know that we could not do anything that we do without your support and we are working hard to keep the light of Festival International burning bright. I wanted to take a minute to send you a quick update. You have either already started hearing some rumors and reading some stories or you are most likely about to.

Quick summary:

  • We have a long list of very serious challenges for Festival International 2021
  • Festival International will not happen in its full format that we all know and love for 2021
  • We spent 6 months brainstorming all kinds of crazy ideas on how to pivot and innovate 
  • We have not been able to come up with any great holistic solution
  • We are now in a position where we have to make some decisions fairly soon
  • We have short and long terms challenges that we are working on in parallel


We are committed to getting back to planning Festival International de Louisiane in the familiar format in Downtown Lafayette that we all know and love. At the same time, we have to get through some really challenging years right now because of COVID-19.

Because  of all of this, we have begun to reach out to our community partners for help and guidance. This is why you are starting to hear the stories. I have personally even reached out to some of Festival’s founders for “spiritual” advice and guidance on this matter. Yes, we have talked to some of our neighboring communities. No, we do not want to move Festival International from downtown Lafayette. We are simply not the type of organization to sit down and accept a terrible situation without getting creative and trying to innovate in order to survive for the long term. 

That is the quick story. If you would like to read more, I will continue below with a recap of this past year, as well as more about what we are looking at now.

2020… We were all dealt some major challenges and had to fight to survive in so many ways. For us, we were faced with a total cancelation for the first time in our 34 year history. We were up against the possibility of a $486,000 loss, which would have been devastating. We got creative and decided to produce a Virtual Festival. We knew we wanted to be innovative and give you something to be proud of, but had no roadmap to follow. We had 3 weeks to pull everything together and made it up as we went. Our Board of Directors empowered our staff to embark on this journey and they stepped up to the challenge. We reached out to you for support and you rallied behind us.

What transpired was truly revolutionary and we could not have imagined it going any better than it did, given the circumstances. We had new, virtual performances of artists from 15 different countries and dozens of our favorite historical performances from AOC’s vault. We were able to showcase our city and rich culture and heritage to viewers from 44 different countries. It was more than just a live stream event online, though. 900 people participated in our Virtual 5K – running, walking, biking around town wearing Festival shirts. We had an entire community flying their Festival flags and decorating their porches. We had neighborhoods organizing their own “Scène des Jeunes”, with activities for kids, Festival coloring sheets and serving juice and water in Festival cups. Over 600 gallons of Festival punch and several thousand meals were served from our Festival cocktail and food vendors.

As a result of all of your support, we were able to mitigate much of the potential loss that we were faced with. We were not able to eliminate the entire loss, but enough to keep us in a position to fight on to live another day.

Now, we are looking to the Spring of 2021 and working through some of the same challenges that we dealt with this past April. From international travel restrictions and limited stateside venues available for cross-booking to social distancing guidelines and safety / security concerns, we have some big considerations to work through..

We are working hard to innovate once again for next year in order to provide our community a shining light to rally behind and keep Festival alive. We have spent the past six months internally mapping out all sorts of mitigation plans and strategies. We have a long list of possibilities – many of them are bad, some are OK, and a few of them could be great. We are now at a point where we need to start working on a final plan. In order to do this, we have begun to reach out to our external partners to exchange ideas and work on the possibilities. We are working closely with Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and Lafayette Consolidated Government, as well as others to sort this out.

We are not willing to give up (yet) on the idea of producing a live event. Once we accepted that we would not be able to plan our full Festival in its normal format and footprint, we began to think way outside of any box we ever had. This is the same creative process that we went through in order to produce our Virtual Fest this past Spring. We explored all kinds of bad ideas before coming up with a good one. 

During this process, it is true that we have considered several additional / satellite venues for next year that are not in downtown, including Youngsville (among a dozen others) as a potential additional venues. The reasoning for a possible satellite venue is to help provide some more cross booking opportunities and bring in some additional support to offset some of the cost of flying in musicians. In a normal year, we are able to cross book with Festivals and venues around the country to help mitigate expenses and taxes. Right now, our options are very limited. 

We are also exploring different possibilities for our downtown venues – we are simply looking at all sorts of scenarios in order to come up with a good plan that is responsible and makes sense for everybody. No matter what we come up with, it has to be flexible in a way that we can behave responsibly in regards to whatever the situation is with COVID-19 when April rolls around. This, of course, leaves open the possibility of not having a traditional live music performance with patrons in the venue.

Nothing has been decided at this point – it is all completely exploratory. Downtown will certainly play a big part of whatever format we come up with. Nobody is excited about the fact that we are forced to rethink our entire event – we all want to see Festival International return to its full urban format that we all love. When will that be? Because of a long list of challenges and a whole lot of uncertainty, we must get creative in order to survive and make it to the other side.

I commit to letting you know as soon as we have a final plan. In the interim, I would ask for your continued support and patience as we work through the process. We are not working on this alone and will be getting very creative in order to find the best possible solution. We have an entire team of very passionate people (staff, Board, community partners) involved and everybody’s hearts are in the right place. It is inspiring to see and feel all of the passion in our Festival community. We are humbled by this, as always. It will ultimately take all of us to come together and rise up to ensure that Festival International lives on and returns to its proper urban setting in downtown Lafayette – stronger than ever. I am confident that we will.  Meanwhile, if you find a crystal ball and the magic bullet, please send them our way;)

Bon Festival!

Scott Feehan



Executive Director
Festival International de Louisiane

Festival Guide Sponsors

Borden’s
Canada/New Brunswick
Cedar Grocery
Codofil
Corner Bar
Crawfish Festival Breaux Bridge
Developing Lafayette
DTA
Eat Lafayette
Festival Acadiens & Creole
Greg Moreaux
Guardian Angels’ Fund
IberiaBank
IDI Workplace
JD Bank
La Carreta
Lafayette Airport
Lafayette Music Academy
LUS 
LUS Fiber
Moncus Park
Nabil Loli
Nitetown
Pouparts
School of Rock
Shelter Insurance
St Martin Parish
Stirling Properties
Tsunami
UL Lafayette
UL Lafayette
Vermilionville

Virtual Festival Sunday

AOC Digital Archive Presentation:

shown on AOC TV and AOC Facebook page


1:00Sargent GarciaFrance/Cuba2013
2:15TinariwenMali2014

Virtual Festival Friday, presented by JD Bank:

on AOC TV and Festival International Facebook Page


*Starting times for the day and order of performances will be accurate. Due to the nature of our live streaming, the exact times of all performances will “breathe”. We are providing the approximate hour markers to give you some reference of expectations.

We will be streaming these shows live on our Facebook Page. Ideally, try to watch on a TV or computer with some good speakers.

TimeOrderArtistCountryYear
4:001Natu CamaraGuineaVirtual
2 Julian Primeaux LouisianaVirtual
 3Gregg Martinez, G.G. Shinn, & T.K. HulinLouisiana2017
 4Major HandyLouisianaVirtual
 5Lisa LeBlancNew Brunswick2015
 6Lone PiñonNew MexicoVirtual
 5:007Angélique KidjoBenin2015
8Jacques SuretteNova ScotiaVirtual
9Charles BradleyU.S.2013
 10Jelly ToastLouisianaVirtual
11Jeffery Broussard & the Creole CowboysLouisiana2017
 6:0012DelgresFrance/GuadeloupeVirtual
 13The WailersJamaica2013
 14SinkaneSudan/U.S.Virtual
15GIVERS w/ Special Guests Tom Tom Club, Mokoomba, & Dickie LandryLouisiana/U.S.2017
16Finale w/ Sinkane & special guestsSudan/Haiti/France/Guadeloupe/Brazil/Guinea/Louisiana/ZimbabweVirtual

Virtual Festival Saturday

AOC Digital Archive Presentation:

shown on AOC TV and AOC Facebook page


2:00Chic GamineManitoba2013
3:15BajoliDR Congo/Belgium2014

Virtual Festival Friday, presented by LUS:

on AOC TV and Festival International Facebook Page


We will be streaming these shows live on our Facebook Page. Ideally, try to watch on a TV or computer with some good speakers.

TimeOrderArtistCountryYear
5:001Natu CamaraGuineaVirtual
 2Red BaraatIndia/U.S.2017
 3Eric DionQuébecVirtual
6:004Leyla McCallaLouisiana/HaitiVirtual
 5GuGu Drum Group from ShanghaiChina2017
 6Nathan & the Zydeco Cha ChasLouisianaVirtual
 7MarchFourthU.S.2015
 8SpoutniqueNew BrunswickVirtual
7:009T’MondeLouisianaVirtual
 10GinkgoaFrance2017
 11Brother DegeLouisianaVirtual
 12Nomadic MassiveQuébec/Cuba/France/Brazil2015
 13Soul CreoleLouisianaVirtual
8:0014Balkan Beat BoxIsrael/France2017
 15Radio RadioNova Scotia/New BrunswickVirtual

Virtual Festival Friday

AOC Digital Archive Presentation:

shown on AOC TV and AOC Facebook page


4:00Sharon Jones & the Dap KingsU.S.2010
5:15Bomba EstéreoColumbia2011

Virtual Festival Friday, presented by Coca Cola:

shown on AOC TV and Festival International Facebook Page


*Starting times for the day and order of performances will be accurate. Due to the nature of our live streaming, the exact times of all performances will “breathe”. We are providing the approximate hour markers to give you some reference of expectations.

We will be streaming these shows live on our Facebook Page. Ideally, try to watch on a TV or computer with some good speakers.

TimeOrderArtistCountryYear
7:001Opening Ceremonies Virtual
 2Ceux Qui Marchent DeboutFrance2017
 3Pierre DonoréFranceVirtual
 4RAMHaitiVirtual
8:005MokoombaZimbabwe2017
 6Burke, Steve, & Dolsy Riley LouisianaVirtual
 7Rachid TahaAlgeria2009
 8AyradMorocco/QuébecVirtual
 9Dave PuhaczNew BrunswickVirtual
 10Marc BroussardLouisiana2017
 11Francisco El HombreBrazilVirtual
 12Las CafeterasMexico/U.S.2017
9:0013Chloé BreaultNew BrunswickVirtual
 14Roddie Romero & the Hub City AllstarsLouisiana2015
 15FeufolletLouisianaVirtual
 16   

Festival International Called Off for Spring 2020

News from Festival International
Festival International de Louisiane
315 Lee Ave 
Lafayette, La 70501
337. 232.8086 / Fax 337.233.7536

 
Feb. 16, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Carly Viator, Marketing Director

carly@festivalinternational.org
Lafayette, LA – Letter from Executive Director, Scott Feehan

Dear Festival supporters, patrons and the entire Lafayette community,

We regret to announce that Festival International de Louisiane is officially called off for this spring, April 22-26, 2020. After vigorously exploring options and hoping for an optimistic outcome, the coronavirus, COVID-19, has posed too much of a threat for us to carry-on planning for our Festival next month. 

We are exploring all possible options for rescheduling in the Fall. There are, of course, major challenges in pursuing this and we are not sure of the feasibility at this time. We will be working over the coming days to evaluate and analyze what our options are and will communicate as we know more. We ask for patience as we find solutions at this time. 

Our thoughts are with everyone around the world impacted by this volatile situation. We extend our most sincere thank you to our community, patrons, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, artists, vendors, media, and the Lafayette Consolidated Government for your support and patience during this difficult time. 

We are in uncharted territory right now and are all in this together. We would encourage you all to heed the advice of the CDC, as well as local, State and Federal governments – take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  

Sincerely,

 Scott Feehan

Executive Director I Festival International de Louisiane

Festival 2020 News Update

Our team is working non-stop and doing our due diligence to make sure any actions we take in response to the coronavirus are safe and in everyone’s best interest. We know that people are concerned, just as we are concerned. We are working in cooperation with our staff, board, city, state, health officials and beyond as we are on top of making adjustments, considering new scenarios, and closely tracking all related international travel. The decisions based around Festival International 2020 will ultimately be made in cooperation with these professionals and in response to developments with the virus. 

We will keep our community, patrons, and artists up-to-date as our plans evolve and we are prepared to do our due diligence in handling this situation responsibly.


Statement about COVID-19, from Executive Director of Festival International de Louisiane

Festival International de Louisiane
March 6, 2020


From the Desk of Scott Feehan
Executive Director, Festival International de Louisiane
Re: Coronavirus


To all Festival Supporters, patrons, and the entire Lafayette community,

I wanted to take a moment to share our thoughts and position about the current Coronavirus, COVID-19, situation, as it pertains to Festival International de Louisiane.

With Festival being 47 days away, we are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as Louisiana Department of Health’s websites for daily updates and are heeding their advice on proactive measures to take.

There is not currently any imminent threat associated with the planning of Festival International de Louisiane. Because of this, we are continuing to plan for our annual festival to take place just as it does every year. We are hopeful and cautiously optimistic that the situation will actually improve between now and the end of April, but we are not assuming that it will or taking anything for granted.

In cooperation with public health officials, we will continue to monitor the situation and prepare for a safe and wonderful event at the end of April. We appreciate the concern from those who have reached out and intend to keep fans and the public updated if there are any changes with the ongoing production. 

With sincere consideration,

Scott Feehan
 Executive Director
Festival International de Louisiane

2020 Schedule Release

Festival International de Louisiane Announces 2020 Schedule

Festival International de Louisiane has officially released its 2020 schedule. This year’s Festival International, presented by LUS Fiber, includes artists representing the music and culture of more than 25 different countries and regions. 

“It’s a Festival of discovery,” said Lisa Stafford, Festival’s programming director, about this year’s curation of artists.  “It’s five days of embracing other cultures while we share our unique culture with the world.”

“It’s like a trip around the world,” Stafford continued, “but instead of eighty days, we bring it to you in five.”

Festival 2020 will take place from Wednesday, April 22, to Sunday April 26.  The party kicks off on Wednesday night, April 22, with a local flair.  Swamp-pop legend Warren Storm will get things started with Yvette Landry & the Jukes, followed by Zydeco staple Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie.

Thursday night, April 23, will feature headliners Radio Radio, the well-known Acadian rap group who are on their finale tour.   Pan-Latin American progressive band, Dos Santos, also performs Thursday, and French, swamp-blues trio Delgres will deliver its first of two appearances this Festival.

Locally honed, international touring band, Brother Dege & The Brethren, will represent Louisiana artists on Opening Night, along with a specially curated performance tribute called, “Pianorama: To Allen, Mac and Art, with Love.”  The tribute will feature Marcia Ball, Ivan Neville, John “Papa” Gros, and David Torkanowsky — four piano legends who will come together to honor our fallen heroes. 

Festival’s Friday night schedule is packed with ascending Palestinian-Jordanian “sham-step” band 47SOUL, Five Alarm Funk bringing the heat from British Columbia and Lafayette-based Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas.  West African and dub-inspired American band, The Hip Abduction, also hits the stage Friday night, as does multi-national group, Nomadic Massive, and Jamaican reggae masters, The Meditations.

Festival is always family-friendly, so be sure to visit our children’s area, Service Chevrolet Cadillac Scène des Jeunes, on Saturday to catch the Burke Riley Cajun Quintet, a band of prodigies led by Burke Riley, who follows in his father Steve Riley’s footsteps. 

Saturday night features Montréal-based Moroccan music group, Ayrad, Haitian rhythm-driven group RAM bring their traditional melodies to the stages, as well as the Guinean group, Natu Camara.  Australian folk-rock band, The Waifs, return to Festivals stages by popular demand, and Louisiana delta-rockin’ blues guitarist Tab Benoit will also play Saturday.  If you missed these bands the first time around, there’s a chance at redemption — you can also see acts like The Meditations, Nomadic Massive and 47SOUL on Saturday night.

Sunday will feature Leyla McCalla, who is a Louisiana based and Haitian-inspired artist, as well as Sudanese heavy-hitter Sinkane.  Cimafunk, is currently the hottest Cuban touring artist, and his only performance will close out Festival on Sunday night. Cimafunk hits with high-energy, gritty funk-soul in the tradition of James Brown or vintage, Southern-soul cuts, but with his own Afro-Cuban, poly-rhythmic identity and flair.  Cimafunk made a splash last week with the release of his appearance on National Public Radio’s popular “Tiny Desk” concert series.
 As always, Festival International remains true to showcasing Francophone (French-speaking) musicians in 2020. A few of the en Français performances to catch include: Les Filles des Illighadad, the only known female-led Tuareg guitar group; Acadian artists Dave Puhacz, Jacques Surette, Chloé Breault and Spoutnique; and Haitian band Lakou Mizik, who are fresh from a carnivale appearance in New Orleans with Arcade Fire.

Festival is also proud to broaden its scope in welcoming artists who represent additional countries and cultures, including showcasing a variety of Latin groups like La Raíz, of Puerto Rico, Brazilian-influenced Franciso El Hombre, and Southwestern band, Lone Piñon.

The full schedule is available on the Festival International website at https://festivalinternational.org/schedule , where you can plan out your festivities show-for-show. You can also visit the lineup page on the site to learn more about the artists and their unique sounds.
Stay tuned for information about exciting Special Events and Exhibits.