April marks official Festival International month and every year it seems like the special events start earlier than the last.
This year, the celebrations have already started. This Friday is the official Festival Kick-Off Night with two events marking the season, followed by a few theater performances next weekend.
First, is an Evening with Zucchero, Italian superstar who’ll be performing at Vermilionville. Later that night is Big SAMs Funky Nation from New Orleans performing at Jefferson Street Pub. If you’re more of a theater person, Tartuffe (The Imposter) will be performed next weekend at Cite des Arts. All of these events benefit Festival International and help to keep the annual event admission-free.
Here’s a short and sweet guide to help you decide how to pre-game for Festival.
Festival Kick-Off Night, An Evening with Zucchero
8 p.m. Friday, April 14
Zucchero is an Italian blues rocker (known in Europe as the “Father of Italian Blues”) who’s played with the likes of Miles Davis, Bono, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles...the list goes on.
Read More:He’s sold 60 million records and playing Vermilionville?
This year marks his second tour in the U.S. and he's sold out arenas in big cities like Los Angeles and Chicago in the past. He’s making a special stop in Lafayette (his only stop in a town this size) simply because he loves it here. Back in 2014 while touring the United States, he played to a sold-out crowd at the intimate venue of Vermilionville. After enjoying a great meal at the local Italian restaurant, Marcello's, the blues guitarist toured the Tabasco plant, Shadows on the Teche and fell in love.
“You have to realize that to most blues musicians (know) that blues, R&B, early rock and roll and jazz originated in South Louisiana, New Orleans, the Delta and up to Memphis,” says booking agent Frank Camalo, owner of Frank and Tony Productions who books talent for Vermilionville. “So Louisiana is holy ground for many rock, blues players. They know this is where it all started.”
For Friday night’s show, there will be an eight-piece band, so expect a stage packed with world class musicians.
Tickets: $45 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-friday-kickoff-night-zucchero-sugar-fornaciari-tickets-32865682140
Festival Kick-Off Night, Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Big Sam's Funky NationBuy Photo
(Photo: Daily Advertiser )
8 p.m. Friday, April 14
Jefferson Street Pub
Big Sam's Funky Nation is a Funk band based out of New Orleans and brands themselves as "Noladelic PowerFunk." It's high-energy music that mixes funk, rock & roll, hip-hop, and jazz, combining it together with the iconic brass of New Orleans.
Jefferson Street Pub has been the Artists Hospitality venue for Festival International for the past few years and contributes 10 percent of the door and bar profits back to the admission-free festival. If you plan on spending Friday night downtown anyway, you can catch live funk and support Festival at the same time.
Tickets: $10 at www.socialentertainment.net
Tartuffe (The Imposter)
This modern take on "Tartuffe" will be at Cite des
This modern take on "Tartuffe" will be at Cite des Arts, starting April 14. (Photo: Submitted)
Friday, April 21 - Sunday, April 23 (various times)
Cite des Arts
The special exhibits team at Festival International have been working hard to bring back visual arts and theater performances to the lineup.
Tartuffe aka The Hypocrite is the first of many theater performances happening at this year’s festival. It will be performed by a group from New Orleans, Clove Productions, who's given the Moliere's classic comedy of bad manners "Tartuffe" a modern twist, created especially for Festival Internationale de Louisiane.
The cast is made up of Chris Robinson as Valere, Ashton Akridge as Marianne, Julie Wakefield as Dorine, Michael Martin as Orgon. Director Richard Mayer. These characters are among some of theater's most classic. All proceeds go to benefit Festival International special events such as Tattooed Walls, Photographic Retrospectives and other visual and theater performances.
Tickets: $20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tartuffe-or-the-imposter-tickets-32335279692
If you’d like to see extra events such as visual arts, theater, comedy, and film added to Festival International’s calendar permanently, the organization needs your support by attending shows such as these. Be sure to check out several other special performances during Festival weekend at various venues throughout downtown.