I have always found it difficult to have a bad time at a festival in Lafayette. Even when cowering under a crowded tent to escape a sudden rainstorm, you know that either the rain will pass or your reserve will, and soon you will be hopping around to an impossibly good African band you’ve never heard of, or finding yourself pulled on the dance floor by a smiling stranger who will assist you in not trampling the more seasoned Cajun dancers in your wake. It’s a festival that works for everybody. There’s next to no hassle, plenty of food, and the stages are around every downtown corner. There’s even that giant fountain for the kids. Also, it’s free, April 22–26. The fun is in the wandering through downtown Lafayette, soaking in the panoply of music from the French-speaking world and beyond. The schedule is subject to change, so keep an eye on festivalinternational.com for updates and news. Here are some acts you need to see.
Dengue Fever (April 25 and 26)
Ethan and Zac Holtzman were psychedelic rockers from L.A. who became entranced by the dreamlike world of Cambodian pop music. Next they found singer Chhom Nimol singing in a nightclub in Long Beach’s Little Phnom Penh neighborhood and formed Dengue Fever in 2001 to cover Cambodian singers and write their own lounge-ready material. It’s the kind of music that you can’t pinpoint, transcending the initial kitsch reaction to the point where you want your world to sound as good as this sexy, charming, intoxicating music sounds. myspace.com/denguefevermusic
Lil’ Buck Sinegal (April 24 and 26)
Lafayette’s self-described “Master of the Stratocaster,” Lil’ Buck Sinegal delivers a wrecking ball of old-school R&B, funk and soul, swinging out from an era when these blended seamlessly, laying waste to the foolishness that has been erected since. Sinegal got his start in the Top Cats with Stanly “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. who later founded Buckwheat Zydeco, and has been honing his powerhouse blues for 30 years. While there is no dearth of great guitar players in Louisiana, Sinegal is one of the best, and is even slated to perform with fiddle phenom Cedric Watson on April 24. myspace.com/lilbucksinegal