Each October, the iconic cast-iron black pot evokes a special anticipation for locals of Lafayette, Louisiana. While gallons of gumbo are reason alone to get excited, the Southern Louisiana Blackpot Festival & Cookoff offers much more than the typical festival fare. The unique festival features two days full of live music, dancing, jamming and fantastic food with an added elementovernight camping. copyright letitiavansant We really wanted to encourage a trade in culture, music and food, Blackpot co-founder Glenn Fields explained.I wanted my friends and people that we met from other parts of the world to experience what we experience. Now in its ninth year, the Blackpot Festival and Cookoff was brought to life by bandmates Glenn Fields and Chaz Justice of the Baton Rouge-based Red Stick Ramblers. It was important for us to build a community, said Fields.Heres a chance for my friends and people in our community who play music to meet people of a similar skill level or mindset, or maybe even a little bit better than they are, and they can learn from each other and trade tunes and techniques. That was an aspect of other festivals that we wanted to bring down here. Drawing inspiration from Ashokan Music & Dance Camps in New Yorks Catskill Mountains and the Clifftop Festival in West Virginia, Fields and Justice aimed to create an intimate celebration that introduces attendees to as much new music as it does to new people. And because of the shared campgrounds between performers and attendees, festival goers are treated to impromptu musical performances even after the scheduled entertainment is through. copyright letitiavansant 2 The festival showcases Louisiana roots bands in addition to Swing, Hot Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Americana, Irish and Old-Time acts from all over the country. This years Friday line-up includes Bonsoir Catin, Silas Low & the Liabilities, Mama Rosin, Anna Lindblad, The Revelers, Mark Rubin with the Youngers of Zion and the Pine Leaf Boys. The fun continues Saturday with performances by Clelia Stefaninis Square Dance Band, Evie Landin and Keith Terry, Tee Chaoui Social Club, Noveau String Band, Brad Leftwich and Linda Higginbotham, Goldman Thibodeaux & the Lawtell Playboys, Paul Brown, Kristin Andreassen, Miss Tess & the Talkbacks, Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Preston Frank with Ed Poullard, The Carper Family, Feufollet and James Hunter Six. The cooking competition heats up on Saturday, where contestants prepare their best recipe for gravy, cracklin, jambalaya, gumbo or dessert. I think people who arent from here get a big kick out of going around to different booths and sampling what people are cooking, said Fields. While providing samples to festival goers isnt required, its encouragedand highly appreciated by everyone lucky enough to get a taste. copyright Choose Lafayette.com The gravy category spans past just the sauce alone. It includes everything from etouffee to sauce piquante to stewoften prepared with unexpected ingredients. Around here, some of the stuff isnt that unusual. It really isnt that strange to have someone cook a turtle sauce piquante, squirrel or rabbit, Fields said. But if youre from New York or Ohio or Michigan, youve never seen that before in your life. Experience the magic of Blackpot on October 24th-25th at Acadian Village in Lafayette, Louisiana. For more information including music line up and directions to the Festival click here.