Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival

August 30, 2014
Plaisance, Louisiana

Celebrate the Spicy Culture of the Creoles
The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival celebrates the spicy culture of the Creoles of Louisiana by highlighting, documenting, preserving and enhancing their rich heritage. Not only does the annual Festival spotlight the talent of both seasoned and new Zydeco artists, but it also has grown to new heights to encompass and share all avenues of the region's rich culture. It is an annual cultural production of Southern Development Foundation in its commitment to promote the cultural awareness of Zydeco music & its heritage.

History of Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival
In the days of old, the Creole Community would gather at harvest time and work together to complete their tasks. When a family would have a bouchere` (butchering of a hog), everyone in the community would come over and share in the work and cooking of fresh meat.

When the work was finished, the people would celebrate and entertain themselves with a “La La” ( Creole French for house dance.) Instruments used to create “La La” music were the scrubboard (frottoir), spoons, fiddle, triangles (ti-fers), and an accordion.
 
When times got tough for a family, they would throw a “La La”, a Saturday night dance in the living room. Emptying the room of all furniture, they would charge ten or fifteen cents admission and sell gumbo, homemade beer and lemonade. Even churches would give benefit “La La” to support different functions of the church.
 
By most of the music being sung in Creole French, “La La” music was only thought of as being for rural and “old folks. One noted musician, the late great “King of Zydeco”, Clifton Chenier, is credited with naming the music ZYDECO “les haricots” (snapbeans).
 
In 1981 fearful that Creole and Zydeco music was dying out, “The Treasures of Opelousas” a group of concerned citizens under the guidance and sponsorship of Southern Development Foundation, organized the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival.
 
The first Zydeco Festival in 1982 was started on a farmer’s field in the Plaisance community on the outskirts of Opelousas, with four hundred of our neighbors attending.
 
These traditions of yesteryear may be only a memory for some, but it is the testimony that the Zydeco Music Festival serves. A testimony to those who came before....to the ancestors who toiled in the fields under the hot sun to take care of their families....to those who shared with one another during good and bad times...especially to the ancestors who celebrated, laughed, and loved despite the hardships they encountered.
 
The Zydeco Music Festival is their offspring - a living reminder for us never to forget where we come from, to always appreciate and respect our past, and most of all to continue our legacy in keeping the rich culture alive.
 
Southern Development Foundation has kept the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival alive and developed it into what is now known as the world's largest Zydeco ("LA LA") Music Festival.

For more information, go to the official site of the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival.