Experience the music, food and performance arts that can only be found in Louisiana.
The southeastern state is known for its Jazz and Blues music, Cajun and Creole food, and performance art. It’s a colorful state filled with a complex blend of French, Spanish, German, African, Irish and Native American influences. Louisianans are proud of their heritage and love to show it off by hosting exciting festivals year-round. Here are eight festivals to enjoy during your stay.
Baton Rouge Blues Festival
The Baton Rouge Blues Festival is one of the oldest blues festivals in the USA. Thousands gather at the two-day annual festival in April to hear laid-back rhythmic music with simple but effective guitar work that makes up the unique “swamp Blues sound.” The festival honors the legacies of native Blues musicians such as Slim Harpo, Rudy Richard, Vance “Guitar” Kelly, Silas Hogan, Raful Neal and Schoolboy Cleve as well as nationally and internationally acclaimed artists such as Bobby Blue Bland, Marcia Ball and Ruthie Foster. Festival-goers will also want to browse local art vendors and taste delicious Louisiana specialties from the food trucks.
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
Every May, thousands flock to Breaux Bridge to hear Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop music while feasting on fresh crawfish. Excite your taste buds while you sample crawfish that is cooked in a variety of styles: fried, boiled, bisque, boudin, pie, jambalaya, crawdogs and more. Take part in one of the dance contests and watch a few of the thrilling cooking demonstrations. Stroll among local vendors selling handcrafted items and enjoy the floats and bands in the parade.
Freshly caught crawfish, a staple at festivals throughout Louisiana
Mudbug Madness is a four-day festival held over Memorial Day weekend in late May. As one of Louisiana’s largest and most popular Cajun festivals, thousands come to the Festival Plaza in Shreveport to dance to Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Jazz music, eat mouth-watering Cajun cuisine and take part in the many contests and activities for all ages. Mudbug Madness is a crawfish boil that is unlike any other you’ve experienced; the festival is recognized as one of Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events.”
Band performing in downtown Shreveport during the four-day Mudbug Madness Festival
Festival International de Louisiane
Festival International de Louisiane is the largest international music event in the USA with over 300,000 people visiting downtown Lafayette every year. The five-day festival in April features performances by musicians from over 20 countries along with workshops, exhibits, visual art, theater and other forms of performance art. Sip local hand-crafted beer and eat traditional Louisiana Cajun cuisine while watching the amazing artists on one of the four event stages. There’s even a section where children can enjoy arts and crafts, face painting and other activities. Best of all, admission is free.
New Orleans Cajun-Zydeco Festival
Every year on the second weekend in June, the New Orleans Cajun-Zydeco Festival takes place in Louis Armstrong Park between the French Market and Esplanade Avenue. The free event features two stages, a huge craft fair and delicious Cajun food. The festival’s Cajun music relies heavily on the sounds of fiddles, guitars, accordions and vocals in French and English. Zydeco adds a washboard, horns and other instruments to create a hybrid sound that is unique and catchy. Dance to the Louisiana beat as you have fun at this festival.
Nathan Williams playing zydeco, the accordion-driven music genre, at the New Orleans Cajun-Zydeco Festival
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a huge event welcoming over 400,000 people a year to celebrate the music and culture that makes up New Orleans. Over the course of 10 days, festival-goers will see thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople as they walk through and relax on the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Listen to a variety of musical styles, including Jazz, Blues, Gospel, R&B, Cajun, Zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, Folk, Latin, Rock, Rap, Country and Bluegrass. Immerse yourself in Louisiana culture as you have an amazing time at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a 10-day celebration of music in a variety of genres
Red River Revel
The Red River Revel attracts nearly 100,000 people who come to celebrate food, culture, art and music in Shreveport for eight days every October. Located in Festival Plaza, the event features over 100 visual artists, four performance stages, 24 food booths, a children’s area and three arts education programs. Only the finest visual and performing arts are presented at this festival, which has received the “The Top 10 Events in Louisiana” award from Top Events USA as well as numerous other awards.
Celebrating food, culture, art and music at the Red River Revel in Shreveport
Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival
Morgan City relies on its seafood and petroleum industries for economic stability. The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival recognizes the hard-working people in both industries. The five-day event on Labor Day weekend at the end of August and beginning of September includes carnival rides, Cajun food, activities, diverse music, arts and crafts, fireworks and parades. Don’t miss the spectacular “Blessing of the Fleet” water parade on Sunday; shrimp boats, pleasure craft and huge “muscle boats” carrying petroleum workers come from miles around to receive a blessing for the upcoming season.