The 17th annual Latin Music Festival could be the biggest and boldest yet thanks to help from the organizers of Festival International de Louisiane and Downtown Alive.
Saturday's event will feel familiar to anyone who has attended the annual international music festival or outdoor concert series. Parc International will have a more cohesive theme featured on new signage, banners and backdrops. Commemorative posters and pins designed by local artist Kody Chamberlain will be for sale. Even smaller details — like the sound and lighting — will be similar.
"Our mission is to make Lafayette a cultural epicenter," said Scott Feehan, executive director of Festival International. "So to us, it's the perfect fit. We've been focused on getting more efficient at what we do with Festival International in the past few years, and we feel like we have more bandwidth to help other events and organizations. Things like this benefit the community as a whole."
Central American music sensation Doctor Nativo, who also performed at Festival International in April, will headline the event.
Anita Begnaud, CEO of Downtown Lafayette, worked to bring the musician back to Lafayette through a partnership with her organization. Doctor Nativo will perform Friday evening at Downtown Alive, Saturday during the Latin Music Festival and again Sunday at a brunch fundraiser for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited.
"I fell in love with Doctor Nativo and his band at Festival International this year," Begnaud said. "I saw them every time they played at Festival International and again at a more intimate show at Pat Trahan's house. And since then, I've really wanted to find a way to partner with ACLA to bring a band like that back to Lafayette."
ACLA, which stands for the Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana, puts on the Latin Music Festival. The nonprofit organization has also partnered with Downtown's Movie in the Parc series for about a year.
Luis Mora, chairman of the ACLA, has been hoping to form these partnerships for years, especially with Festival International.
"I've been kidding them, asking when they're going to adopt me and put me as part of their festival," Mora said with a laugh. "And now Downtown is calling their Downtown Alive a kick-off party for the Latin Music Festival, and Festival International is becoming a 50/50 partner. It's encouraging to see both of them put their name on it."
Festival International organizers attended and took notes during last year's Latin Music Festival with the intention of partnering for this year's event. They agreed, along with Downtown Lafayette, that the organizations could be better together.
"The Latin community has a lot to offer with music, culture, art, food," Mora said. "And we want to showcase it through this festival and establish better relations among the people of Louisiana."
The Latin Music Festival happens from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at Parc International at 200 Garfield St. in downtown Lafayette.
The free, family-friendly event kicks off with a mega zumba class and continues throughout the day with Latin music, food, art, children's activities and more. See the full schedule or learn more at aclalaf.org/latin-festival.