LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– What started as a small concert in Blackham Coliseum in 1974 quickly grew into the Festivals Acadiens we know today, and with that growth came an important annual event for Lafayette’s economy.
“We did an economic impact study a number of years ago, and it was determined we were about a 15-18 million dollar economic impact on the city of Lafayette with this weekend,” Patrick Mould, vice president of programming and development for Festivals Acadiens, said.
The continued growth of Festivals Acadiens over the past 49 years brought larger crowds, leading to a strategy of changing festival hours and helping local business thrive.
“We have 12 different countries, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, so we attract a lot of international visitors,” Mould said. “And what we do is we don’t keep our crowds late, we stop the festival at 7:30, 8, and we send people out into the community to go enjoy Lafayette.”
While helping businesses after hours, the festival also opens the door for vendors to grow as over 30 food vendors and 75 artists make their way onto the grounds.
The festival has also grown to have four music stages, giving more musicians an opportunity to shine.
“We also employ musicians, ” Mould said. “The crafts vendors make money selling their wares, the food vendors make money selling the food. We have a lot of residual economic impact on the food industry and the fine arts and crafts industry.”
Mould said the impact will only be greater as the festival continues to get bigger every year.