Southwest Louisiana comes to New Orleans this weekend for the 10th annual Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival in Armstrong Park.
As in New Orleans, indigenous music is very much a family affair along the Lafayette-Lake Charles corridor. The 2016 roster of the free, two-day, single-stage Cajun-Zydeco Festival reflects that.
The Saturday lineup includes two grandsons of the late Boozoo Chavis, the irascible zydeco patriarch who passed away in 2001. R.J. Chavis & the Creole Sounds kick off the festival at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by Justin Chavis & the Dog Hill Stompers.
The family theme continues Sunday with a couple of siblings who are descended from zydeco legend Bois Sec Ardoin: Sean Ardoin & Zydekool, followed by his brother Chris Ardoin. Chris Ardoin will be joined by members of the late zydeco legend Beau Jocque’s old band, the Zydeco Hi-Rollers.
In the mid- to late-1990s, Beau Jocque and Boozoo Chavis engaged in a series of “battles” at Rock ‘n’ Bowl that helped promote the music’s popularity. The enduring legacies of both men will be represented at the festival this weekend.
Saturday’s bill also includes Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots, the zydeco-blues hybrid led by accordionist, harmonica player and singer Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes; the uptempo showman Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers; and Lake Charles bandleader Roddie Romero, whose Hub City Allstars intermingle Cajun music, swamp pop and roots rock.
Bruce Daigrepont, one of the few authentic Cajun bandleaders to call the New Orleans area home, opens up the festival’s second and final day on Sunday at 11 a.m. Later on Sunday are two veteran southwest Louisiana acts who have traveled the globe many times: Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, followed by Nathan Williams — who hails from an extended, multi-generation zydeco family — and his Zydeco Cha Chas. Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas close out the festival from 5:45 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival is presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Proceeds from Jazz Fest fund the Cajun-Zydeco Festival and other events throughout the year.
The festival includes a Kids’ Tent, craft booths stocked with handmade items from more than two dozen regional artisans, 10 food vendors heavy on seafood offerings and four more vendors peddling desserts.
Outside food and beverages are not allowed; collapsible chairs are.
And so is dancing.