Festival International announces virtual lineup for 2021

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The largest international music festival in the U.S. returns with a virtual lineup for 2021, its 35th annual event.

A total of 51 performances are lined up for Festival International de Louisiane from April 23-25, including:

The second Virtual Festival, will boast a lineup representing a tapestry of cultural sounds and sights. The polyrhythmic, funk-melodic, grit-soul sounds of Cuban sensation, Cimafunk, are primed to please after the pandemic placed a pause on his rise to superstardom. Fest favorites and Grammy-nominated, Tank and The Bangas will provide a cross-section of aural delights cooked up in the cultural crossroads of New Orleans, and Ukranian band DakhaBrakha will showcase what’s made them one of the most successful international touring bands. 

“We have lined up an eclectic spectrum of artists and music,” said Lisa Stafford, programming director of Festival International, “ranging from contemporary pop, all the way down to fiddles and feet tappin’.” 

Stafford said she is also excited about international acts The Reminders, who feature a Belgian emcee and a positive message for all ages. “We are also thrilled to be showcasing a zydeco group from Japan, the Zydeco Kicks!”, who were frequently requested by local musicians, and possible to secure this year because of the virtual format. 

Natu Camera, of Guinea, Afrikana Soul Sister, of Mali, Montreal-based, international touring artist Zachary Richard, of Lafayette, and French guitarist Thomas Dutronc – son of French singers Jacques Dutronc and Françoise Hardy – are representing the Francophone contingent of Festival International. Women-led group OKAN, which takes its name from the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, is set to perform, as well as several other international artists. 

There will be performances from national acts, such as New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band and Samantha Fish, as well as from national and international touring artists hailing from Acadiana, some of whom are Grammy nominees: Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole; Curly Taylor & Zydeco Trouble; Sweet Crude; Cameron Dupuy & The Cajun Troubadours and Lil Nathan & The Zydeco Big Timers. 

Unique to this year’s virtual program, the Saturday morning will open with an interactive show for children, in the spirit of Festival’s children’s programming at Scène des Jeunes meets Saturday morning cartoons. Sunday will open with a comedic, bingo game – an immersive collaboration between musicians of New Brunswick and Acadiana, in a mix of French and English known as “Franglish.” Participants can play along with digital Bingo cards FIL will provide, while enjoying hilarious collaborative musical breaks between rounds.

In additional efforts to give Virtual Festival a sense of “unity and togetherness”, the organization is putting on a Festival Month Extravaganza: an entire month-long Festival takeover of Acadiana. “Paint the Town Festival” offers opportunities for the community to engage with its premier festival, despite the inability to gather en masse. It encourages participation in the decoration of homes and businesses with all things Festival to sustain the usual level of spirit. 

Festival has made it easy to show that spirit with Fest-in-a-Box, a special edition care-package of Festival swag that’s only found in the box and can be ordered as of April 1st in their online shop. The 2021 Virtual Swirl flags are also great ways to show support, and all merchandise purchases help sustain the event’s vitality. Art vendors will also be participating this year via an online shopping experience. Additionally, Festival’s Spotify playlist will be released this week to add to the overall Festival spirit. 

FEASTival is also part of Festival Month Extravaganza for the Festival foodies out there, and to support local restaurants. Festival-inspired dishes will be served the entire month, so would-be festivalgoers may experience the comforts of old, yet still try something new. To make this a challenge with prizes, participating restaurants will provide punch cards to customers to keep up with who purchases the most dishes. Restaurants will donate 10 percent of revenue from all FEASTival dishes sold toward Festival International.

There are many ways to be part of the cultural celebrations during Festival Month, whether enjoying the sounds, sights or tastes of the beloved annual event. Festival International will go LIVE on Facebook on April 23, 2021, on its website, and on television via LUS Fiber. Visit www.festivalinternational.org for more streaming information.

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