Zydeco Music Festival

Zydeco Music Festival (Southwest Louisiana)

Early September
The American music known as Zydeco was originally called "La La," which is Creole French for "house dance." The Creoles are the descendants of the original French and Spanish settlers of the Gulf States, particularly Louisiana. It was traditional at one time for the Creole community to help each other with harvest-related work. Once the tasks were completed, the fun would begin when they celebrated with a La La, using such instruments as the scrubboard ( frottoir ), spoons, fiddle, triangles, and an accordion to create a musical accompaniment.
Later, during hard times, a family might hold a La La on a Saturday night at their home. They would move all the furniture out of a room, charge a small fee to get in, and sell gumbo and beverages. The music played at these informal gatherings was later called "Zydeco"—from les haricots, the French word for snapbeans—by Clifton Chenier, a well-known Zydeco musician.
In 1981 a group of Louisiana citizens, concerned that Creole and Zydeco music was disappearing, organized the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. The first Zydeco Festival was held the following year in a farmer's field on the outskirts of Opelousas. Today the festival is sponsored by the Southern Development Foundation and features Creole food along with performances by well-known Zydeco bands.
Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival
361 Congress St.
Opelousas, LA 70570
337-942-2392; fax: 337-942-9201
Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center
315 N. Main St.
Opelousas, LA 70570
337-948-2589; fax: 337-948-2592