Festival International de Louisiane is the last great outdoor party before the oppressive summer heat arrives. Festival-goers wake up Monday morning in a daze, dehydrated and delirious from days tumbling around a cultural nova. Back to work. Back to the weight of Louisiana humidity. What we face is the looming summer wall, the cross we all bear as a penance for living America’s best festival culture. It’s worth it. Thankfully, there’s plenty to do indoors. Purgatory has air conditioning.

Friday, May 11

Marcia Ball with Roddie Romero + Yvette Landry
Downtown Alive, Parc International

Marcia Ball
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/MarciaBallBand/

Marcia Ball was born in Vinton, Texas, pretty much the last Louisiana town along I-10 before you cross the Sabine River into Texas. That puts her origin at the midpoint between New Orleans and Houston, with slight lean westward to the Texas side of the border. Known for her collaboration with New Orleans legend Irma Thomas, Ball’s rollicking and relaxed piano style puts a lazy French boogies under wry, confessional storytelling in the Texas songwriting tradition.

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Saturday, May 12

The Blue Runners with Tremoloco
Blue Moon Saloon

The Bluerunners
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/bluerunnermusic/

In the 1990s, The Bluerunners crested on a wave of punk-influenced Americana, doing for Cajun music what bands like Uncle Tupelo did for country. Early Bluerunners records were jarring and aggressive — The Minutemen with a Martin accordion. Since then, founders Steven LeBlanc and Mark Meaux have continued to snake into different musical swamps, crossbreeding with funk, blues and Zydeco.

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Friday, May 18

Gerard Delafose & The Zydeco Gators
The Platform at Dat Dog

Gerard Delafose
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/gerard.delafose

Gerard Delafose trades in quintessential zydeco. A third generation player — nephew of Geno, grandson of John — his style rides smooth and easy in the mainstream of the genre. “Can’t Make You Love Me” is the stuff of boat rides and barn dances; it takes the edge off with a massage of a backbeat, what Delafose calls “slow, belly rubbing dancing sounds.”

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Thursday, May 24

Songs over Style - with Ani DiFranco, Tommy McClain, Keith Frank, and more
Warehouse 535

Songs Over Style

The common thread on this lineup is CC Adcock, a Lafayette-born producer and troublemaker who’s made a career behind the board with every name on the list and then some. This show strips songwriting to the studs, exposing the framework of a truly classic song: melody, narrative, honesty, humanity.

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Friday, May 25

SOLO World Premiere
First United Methodist Church


After a week in the woodshed, workshop artists will take their talents to the temple. Performers will reveal the fruits of their labor in the hallowed intimacy of a United Methodist church, the latest hymns in rock and roll’s unfolding canon.

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Saturday, May 26 - Sunday, May 27

SOLO Songwriters Festival with Ani DiFranco, Mary Gauthier, Michael Doucet, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Peter Case, and more
Various Venues, Downtown Lafayette

In its first year running, SOLO convenes an impressive workshop of master songwriters, names like Mary Gauthier, Zachary Richard, Michael Doucet, Peter Case. The result is a kind of pop-up musical think tank. Put 50 songwriters in room, juice them with coffee, and a new batch of classics is born. Throughout the week, songwriters in the round will emerge from their bungalows (not literally) to test and tinker songs in the making, giving show-goers a glimpse at the miracle of songwriting. The event includes several public performances scattered across several venues near Downtown Lafayette.