World music and art, local musicians and those famous stuffed bread bowls are just a few things you’ll encounter at the annual Festival International in downtown Lafayette.
This year’s celebration is the event’s 30th year and features musical performances from bands like Chic Gamine, of Manitoba, to Louisiana’s own Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band.
Thousands upon thousands will be on hand to experience the festival, which balloons from a few stages to eight throughout the weekend. Best of all? Festival International is free and open to the public.
Throughout the weekend, there also are a few arts markets that will be open, various food vendors (you’re getting a bread bowl, right?), and a 5K and fun run.
We can’t list all of the goodness going on this weekend, but we can point you in the right direction. In this week’s Red, we look at what you can’t miss at this year’s humongous Festival International celebration.
Who to see
Music, music, music — Festival International has a veritable who’s who of performers from everywhere coming to downtown Lafayette. Here are 10 bands you can’t miss this year.
Sonny Landreth — 5 p.m. Saturday on the Scène Cypress Bayou Internationale Stage
A blues guitarist who has riffs for days and knows just how and when to use his slide, Landreth released “Bound by the Blues” in 2015.
A-WA — 9:15 p.m. Friday on the Scène TV5Monde Lafayette Stage and 10:15 p.m. Saturday on the Scène Cypress Bayou Internationale Stage
A group of Yemenite sisters who mix folk music with electronic dance music. NPR tapped them as its favorite global music act in September 2015.
Alpha Blondy and The Solar System — 5:30 p.m. Sunday on the Scène Cypress Bayou Internationale Stage
An internationally-known reggae singer, Blondy’s material is mostly political in nature. Early in his career, he was known as “the Bob Marley of Africa.”
The Viatones — 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the LUS LA Craft Biergarten Stage
A country-rock group out of Lafayette, Blayze Viator’s band sounds like something from a ’60s AM radio. They gang just released a sophomore album, too.
Chic Gamine — 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Scène TV5Monde Lafayette Stage and 6:45 p.m. Saturday on the Scène Cypress Bayou Internationale Stage
This JUNO award-winning soul/pop band released “Light a Match” last year and has toured relentlessly since forming in 2007.
Lost Bayou Ramblers present Poguetry in Motion featuring Spider Stacy — 7:45 p.m. Friday on the Scène Chevron Héritage Stage
Cajun rockers Lost Bayou Ramblers have spent a good bit of time teaming up with Spider Stacy of the Pogues and visiting venues across the country. If you’ve missed them, now’s your chance to hear why the mix is so electric.
Orchestre Royal featuring TK Hulin, Lil’ Buck Sinegal, Carol Fran and Michael Doucet — 7:30 p.m. Saturday on the Scène Lafayette General Fais Do Do Stage
A new supergroup from Lafayatte, the band features local, legendary players reinventing the classics.
Tortue — 4:45 p.m. Saturday at the LUS LA Craft Biergarten Stage
A collaboration that started in 2012, the guys in Tortue have years of groovy, guitar-laden experience — 170 of them, to be exact — and released a self-titled album in August 2015.
A Tribute to Jillian Johnson featuring members of The Figs & Ginger Lee — 12:15 p.m. Sunday on the Scène Chevron Héritage Stage
This set will celebrate the talents and memory of Jillian Johnson, an artistic force behind both The Figs and Ginger Lee.
The Waifs — 9:45 p.m. Saturday on the Scène TV5Monde Lafayette Stage
If you are a fan of acts like Mumford & Sons, then the sweet sounds of this Australian folk-rock band will be right up your alley.
What to eat
A little big city on Interstate 10, Lafayette doesn’t joke around when it comes to food. Festival International gives newcomers a reason to experience just why the Hub City is known for great dishes. Here are a few things we can’t wait to try this year.
Paella served from Pamplona Tapas Bar’s porch.
Crawfish Mimi Mac Bread Bowl from Pop’s Poboys. The restaurant located at 740 Jefferson St. will be open from 10:30 a.m. until the music ends on Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Jerk pork taco from Taco Sisters. Served in the Biergarten with a ton of local beers beside it. I’ll take two, or three. Let’s make it an even dozen. Thanks.
Grilled pimento cheese and bacon jam sandwich from Blanchard’s BBQ. Who wouldn’t want this?
Crawfish spinach boat from Bon Creole Seafood. Crawfish, spinach, cheese — served in a friggin’ bread bowl. This is the type of stuff that will make America great again.
For a full list of food vendors and more info, visit festivalinternational.org/artists-eats/food/#.