I got to a friend’s house later than expected for dinner Tuesday evening because I was having a tough time with my column. In general, I told her what it was about.
My friend called me a curmudgeon.
I have an idea what a curmudgeon is, but not really. So I went to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary and here’s the definition: a crusty, ill-tempered and usually old man.
Dang. Not what I had in mind. Crusty? Ill-tempered? Sometimes.
Old man? Double-dang.
So it occurred to me that I could be projecting, or even over thinking.
With all that in mind, I went back home (after dinner) to rework my column about Festivals Acadiens et Creoles bound for Girard Park this weekend.
I love Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. I love all of our festivals. But I just had a couple of questions about a couple of things about this year’s FAetC.
The first part of the column dealt with Les femmes et les filles: Female Perspectives in Cajun and Creole Culture Symposium.
It’s a free, daylong event from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 E. St. Mary Blvd.
The seminar makes total sense considering the festival is celebrating the role of women in Cajun and Creole music. The symposium basically has four categories tied into that theme.
There’s female characters in song, including “Jolie Blonde” (celebrating its 90th anniversary this year), “Colinda” and one of my favorite bluesy and soulful waltzes, “Chere Basette,” among others.
Then there’s the look at women performers, from Cleoma Breaux Falcon to the likes of Bonsoir, Catin, T’Monde, the Daiquiri Queens and others.
They’ll also talk about the women balladeers, such as Inez Catalon, Lula Landry, Odile Falcon, Agnes Bourque, Marie Pellerin and Alma Barthelemy and others.
And then there are the women who’ve documented the Cajun and Creole music and musicians, including Catherine Blanchet, Corinne Saucier, Irene Whitfield, Marce Lacouture and Kristi Guillory.
However, I couldn’t help but wonder that with all of the impact these Cajun and Creole women have had on their respective cultures, why is it all jammed into one day? And into one festival? Surely there’s enough content for each one to earn a separate festival nod to be explored.
You know, like their male counterparts over the years.
My friend, the one who called me a curmudgeon, quietly suggested that maybe the festival folks have other plans for honoring those women — and others — in the coming years.
Yes. No. Maybe.
Call me a cynic, but life in general sure seems is a little off-kilter these days. We live in the Deep South and we’re not too far removed from the old patriarchal way of life.
And I’m sure there’s a reason(s) for clomping women’s contributions to the Cajun and Creole music culture into one festival and one symposium. But as valid as the reason(s) may be, it sure makes for bad optics.
Or not. Call me a curmudgeon.
Ice chest chill: These days, I look kinder on ice chests at fests and such where families are concerned. The cost of living and this economy can make it difficult to pass a good, cultural time. Even at a free event.
As you may know, FAetC introduced a tent fee and an ice chest ban this year.
When I talked to Pat Mould, vice president of programming and development at the festival, he said they’re reluctantly going to start enforcing an ice chest ban that’s been in the festival guide for many years.
“We’ve struggled with this for years,” said Mould. “This is not a conversation that just came up last year.”
Festival folks have watched revenue decline and all signs point to an increase of ice chests, which contain food as well as beverages.
“All this revenue we generate goes back into the festival,” Mould said. “We wouldn’t have those additional stages and wouldn’t be able to pay additional bands and have more craft fairs, more chef demonstrations and have two children’s areas if it wasn’t for us paying for it.”
Therein lies the rub.
A few years ago, I complained in print about the festival’s expanded programming and the addition of yet another stage. It seemed there was more to see and hear, yet less time for it.
Too much can be as problematic as too little. The festival could scale back and not disappoint in the least bit.
So how about an entrance fee?
“Well, that’s never going to happen,” Mould said. “We’re going to bite the bullet any way we can to avoid that.”
Regarding the ice chests? How about a mandatory, sliding corkage fee.
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I got to a friend’s house later than expected for dinner Tuesday evening because I was having a tough time with my column. In general, I told …