In its 29th year, Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette is focused on the green.
It’s evident in the world music and arts festival’s alternative logo for 2015: The iconic, cerulean swirls have turned chartreuse — with a moss-colored leaf adorning each corner — and the logo morphs at its center into four chasing arrows indicative of the universal recycling symbol.
“We’re encouraging people to take small steps to promote sustainability and going green,” Marketing Director April Courville said. “We want to leave downtown a little cleaner than when we started and have as little impact on the environment as possible.”
Although Festival International for years has offered recycling bins at the event — it was, in fact, the first festival in Lafayette to do so — new efforts in 2015 include a collaboration with beautification initiative Project Front Yard, whose volunteers will swarm upon the crowds in sporadic “trash mobs” to clean up waste.
Festivalgoers also are encouraged to ride a bike or walk to the event, or to take advantage of the free Lafayette Transit System bus service available during the five-day festival. Parking at Cajun Field will also be free, with shuttles running every 15 minutes to two locations downtown.
And for Android and iPhone users, the 2015 app provides an alternative to using paper versions of the performance schedule. Users can synchronize the calendar to the one on their phone and make customizable alerts for the acts they don’t want to miss.
“Everything you need to know is in the palm of your hand on the app,” Courville said.
Festival International’s coordinators also are focusing on the other kind of green — money, that is — which, in operating a free festival that hosted about 400,000 people last year, always runs tight.
New this year to the always-free festival are paid passes that include upgraded restrooms and express drink lines at their base level of $65, added access to exclusive hospitality zones for $400, and for $1,000, festivalgoers will receive the perks of private restrooms, onstage viewing and exclusive catering tents with an open bar.
“A lot of these perks were associated with our donor program in the past, but we’ve separated the two so your dollar will go much further,” Courville said.
Festival International has also partnered with NiteTown on Jefferson Street for its first-ever Official After Party on Friday, April 24, featuring New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia — and all proceeds from the $20 event will go back to the festival.
Families will benefit from a few changes, too. Festival organizers this year partnered with the Lafayette Parish School System and its learning-focused arts program, PACE, to develop a curriculum of activities that range from children’s yoga to mandala design to musical-instrument making.
Along with life-sized puppet shows, storytelling and petanque tournaments, children’s rock band Rocknoceros is booked to entertain. It’s the first time the festival has booked a band focused on entertaining the youth.
“And when the kids make their musical instrument, they can play along with the band,” Courville said. “We’re really excited about that.”