Started on a dare, festival running strong
When the Redstick Revelers took a dare from a friend to start a festival so they could headline the event, they didn’t know if they would get paid, but 12 years later the Blackpot Festival is still going strong.
“The band that started the festival is called The Redstick Ramblers and one day they were hanging out with Jay Ungar, who wrote an 'Ashokan Farewell' that was used in the Ken Burns documentary ‘The Civil War,’ and the band was telling him they wanted to headline a festival,” said Daniel Coolik, a curator for the Blackpot Festival. “He said, ‘You know the best way to headline a festival is to start your own,’ then he said ‘I dare you to do it,’ so they did.”
At one point The Redsticks spent more than half the year touring and would tell people about the event, which helped to draw a large out of town crowd to the festival.
“There are always a lot of people from around the state that come in for it, and we try to make it a music lovers festival,” said Coolik. “I think one of the best things about it is that the Lafayette people feel like it’s their festival, they don’t necessarily know who runs it they just know it’s the Blackpot.”
Coolik played with the Redsticks in 2011 and 2012, but when the band ended in 2013, many members continued playing in another band called The Revelers.
The Revelers will close the festival this year on Saturday night.
The festival is pre-empted by an event called Blackpot Camp, which features music, cooking and dance classes from the Sunday to Thursday before the festival, in Eunice, Louisiana, at Lakeview Park.
The week ends with a Thursday night celebration with dancing and music, which serves as a kickoff party for the festival.
Those interested in continuing their camping experience can relocate to the fields across from the entrance to the festival at Acadiana Village during Friday and Saturday.
Although the Blackpot Festival features dancing, music and several cooking competitions, according to Coolik, at its heart it is a music festival.
“The music is not just Cajun and Zydeco music, it’s still geared toward Americana music and we always try to bring in stuff from around the South,” said Coolik.
Although music is a major focus, it is certainly not the only part of the festival that keeps people coming back.
“When it was called the Blackpot Festival, it was centered around the idea of everything that happens around a blackpot in Acadiana,” said Coolik. “It’s not just cooking, it’s camping, hanging out, playing music, and meeting new people. There really isn’t another festival that I know of where people are camping out and staying the whole week.”
The cooking contest takes place on Saturday and features five different categories, including Gravy, Gumbo, Cracklin, Jamblaya and Dessert.
Generosity often runs rife once the judges have made their decision on the best dishes in each category, and chefs usually pass out their food to the crowd on a first come, first serve basis.
Even the logo of the festival reflects the roots of the area, with a designer who will forever have a place in the history of the Lafayette community.
“Our logo was designed by a great friend of mine who is no longer with us, Jillian Johnson,” said Glenn Fields, festival organizer. “It represents her spirit and continuing artistic influence in all that we do.”
The festival will be held Oct. 27-28 at the Vermilionville Historic Village at 300 Fisher Rd., in Lafayette,
and tickets can be purchased at the gate.
For more information about the festival or to see a schedule of events, visit blackpotfestival.com.
- Brocante Vintage Market Grand Opening, Sat., Oct. 28, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Lafayette
Brocante Vintage Market Grand Opening is happening this Saturday.
There will be food, giveaways, and prizes.
Brocante Vintage Market, located at 1409 E Broussard Road, is an ever changing local market offering antiques, repurposed and custom painted pieces, lighting, art, keepsake treasures and much more.
Brocante is also a Maison Blanche paint distributor.
- Halloween Art and Nature Festival, Sat., Oct. 28, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Road, Arnaudville
The Halloween Art & Nature Festival is a family-friendly event inviting all children and families to celebrate Halloween and Louisiana's special natural surroundings, through art, music, food and science.
This free event will include all sorts of spooktacular fun Halloween activities such as: DIY costume workshop using recycled/up-cycled materials and contest, creation of ghoulish artworks and bug portraits, spooky soap making, native seed giveaway, a haunted hayride, lasagna gardening, seed-bombing, DIY bat boxes and hummingbird feeders, scare-rumptious Halloween food workshop, a pop-up art exhibition, spine-tingling storytelling, semi-living live music, live creatures of the night, farm to table foods, visual artists, and much more.
Participating organizations will include: Acadiana Master Naturalists, Acadiana Native Plant Project, Bain Amour Bath & Body Company, Bayou Teche Outfitters, Cosmic Bees of Acadiana, Land Memory Bank, Le Réveil du Français- Cecilia French Immersion, Les Deux Mondes, Louisiana Amphibian And Reptile
Music will include performances by: Stella Clairvoyant & Randy Latiolais; Gritz N Gravy; Yorel Bana and others.
Visual Artists will include: Holly Broderick, Janelle Hebert, Nancy Joyce and others
Event will take place at Atelier de la Nature, located at 1050 Andrew Gautreaux Road, Arnaudville, LA 70512 (between Arnaudville and Cecilia, I-10 Exit 115 Henderson).
- Burris at Caliente, Sat., Oct. 28, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Baton Rouge
Catch Burris in an acoustic set this Saturday at Caliente.
- UL Symphony Halloween Concert, Sat., Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Lafayette
Adults and little ones alike will get into the Halloween spirit when the UL Lafayette Symphony (with Michael Blaney as conductor) presents its Annual Halloween Concert in Angelle Hall Auditorium. Orchestra members will be wearing costumes and the audience is encouraged to show up in their favorite Halloween costumes.
Musical highlights of this year’s concert include: Dukas-The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Strauss-The opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey), Stravinsky-The Firebird Suite, Schwartz-“Magic To Do” from the Musical Pippin, Humperdink-“The Evening Prayer” from the Opera Hansel & Gretel, and Spider Pig from the Simpsons Movie.
Guest appearances by the UL Choirs, UL Opera Theatre and UL Dance Department.
Admission is $8 for adults, free for ages 17 and younger and all UL students, faculty and staff with an I.D.
All proceeds benefit the UL-Lafayette Orchestra Program. For more information call the UL School of Music at (337) 482-6012.