Photos: Final day, 45th N.O. Jazz Fest Sunday, May 4 _lowres (copy)

Joe Hall & The Cane Cutters was among the groups that played this week in Eunice at the Black Pot Camp in advance of this week's Black Pot Festival. 

Don’t look now, but the Black Pot Festival is already underway.

Sure, according to the calendar, the fest opens Friday evening at Vermilion, but in some ways it began Saturday past with a Pre-Black Pot Camp Throw Down (read: music, food, dancing) at the Whirlybird and continues through Thursday with the Blackpot Camp.

The Black Pot Camp, set at Lakeview Park & Beach in Eunice, began Sunday and has classes pertaining to the homegrown music and food scene that includes lessons on cooking, accordion, fiddle, guitar, rhythm, singing and dancing and the like.

You know, all those things that by week’s end may have you knowledgeable enough to busk on a corner in Lafayette, or form your own band, or open a Cajun or Creole restaurant. The options are endless.

However, if you’re not there to eventually busk or open a restaurant, you still get to eat really well and dance it off at the evening dances with two bands a night. And, yes, you don’t have to be a camper to partake.

So far, it’s been Le Bande Chaudiere Noir and The Blackpot Band (Sunday); Joe Hall & the Cane Cutters and the Revelers (Monday); a Square Dance with Josh Baca Accordion Band, and Johnny Nicholas (Tuesday).

Chas Justus & The Jury and Blake Miller & the Old Fashioned Aces are Wednesday evening’s double-bill, followed Thursday by Los Texmaniacs and Preston Frank & the Family Band.

While chances are you missed the camp, do not despair. There’s next year.

Better yet, there’s the very next day, and the day after that with the Black Pot Festival itself at Vermilionville Friday and Saturday.

Yep, otherwise known as Black Pot (pronounced “blackpot”), the fest has all the ingredients of the Black Pot Camp with music, food, dancing and camping — minus the lessons — and a tasty cook-off.

This fest stands apart from other local festivals in that there’s camping on site. That’s such a great idea on so many levels. That you can dance til you drop is a benefit, and so are the pop-up jams that occur at random in the makeshift campground.

I’ve been serenaded to sleep by a string band that included a trumpet, trombone, what sounded like a harp and what could’ve been a tuba. And I’ve been awaken by the smell of coffee from a next-door camper.

All of the fine trappings of Black Pot are framed by the good people who attend.

More often than not, someone has that something you forgot. And when you walk from your campsite to the music, someone will offer you whatever they’re cooking or drinking. It truly is humanity at its finest.

The lineup runs the gamut from Cajun and zydeco to bluegrass, Tex-Mex, rock, Appalachian, Americana, country and singer/songwriter across three stages.

There’s Peter Rowan, Ed Poullard, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Creole String Beans, The Shrugs, Ester Rose, Courtney Granger and Sarcotics. Go here for the lineup:

And make no mistake, the festival, like so many others here, runs on the help and smiles of volunteers.

A weekend pass is $60; Friday night and Saturday (both sans camping) is $25 and $35, respectively. More info here on the whole shebang is at

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Follow Adam Daigle on Twitter, @adamdaigleAdv.