Fest Faves: The art of Festivaling

by Dominick Cross

So much music, and sometimes so little time. What's a music lover to do? We suggest you make a schedule, pace yourself and sometimes just flip a coin.

Hardly seems that nearly a year has passed since the last notes of exotic music of Festival International were either absorbed by the bodies and souls of awed music fans, or floated upward to mingle with the humidity before dissipating.

Whichever way the notes went, in just eight days they return, albeit different, as Festival International de Louisiane opens anew in downtown Lafayette. For those looking for a calendar, Festival runs Wednesday, April 25 through Sunday, April 29, with special events like Soirees du Cinema beginning Monday, April 23.

Anyway, as Festival brings us a variety of music styles from not just around the world, but locally, too, it can also present us with a dilemma: Who to see and hear. You know the drill: So much music, and sometimes so little time. What's a music lover to do? We suggest you make a schedule here, pace yourself, split the time, and sometimes just flip a coin.

Usually, the options and scheduling are varied enough so that you can see at least part of a show of every band; that's what we'll call the split scenario. In this case it's where you leave one stage at about the halfway mark for another. Don't forget to budget time and distance.

Sometimes, though, you'll just have to flip a coin.

There are situations where the conflict is easily resolved because one of the bands have another show during Festival. Then again, their second gig may put you in a similar situation.

Another suggestion for locals intent on seeing one of our many fabulous local bands is to check their touring schedule on their websites and make a rational decision. The head-to-head gigs on opening night with Sonny Landreth on Scene Popeye's and Bas Claus (with guests Dickie Landry, Eric Adcock and Roddie Morero) on Scene Malibu is an example of a potential conflict. Split your time, flip a coin and enjoy yourself.

Of course, no matter which band you check out anytime during Festival, there's always someone who'll say, "Man, you missed (band goes here). It was great."

Keep in mind, this is a festival and not a competition. Ceux Qui Marchent Debout is performing at the same time of Bombino opening night. If you recall in last week's Independent, Roufi, Sousaphone player with CQMD, said he wanted to see Bombino at another festival, but was thrilled to learn the band is going to be here. So lucky for Roufi, Bombino has two gigs at Festival (as does CQMD) so he'll get to see Bombino and band.

Another issue that comes up at Festival, this or any other festival, is the social etiquette aspect of (Reader Alert: newly made word follows) festivaling.

You know the scenario, you're walking form Scene Popeye's to Scene Chevron and lo and behold, there's Larry and Betty whom you haven't seen since, well, last festival. They want catch up but you're on a mission to see The Texas Tornados,

Be polite and firm and let them know you're heading to hear a band and you can hook up later. Have a writing utensil and small pad to get their phone number will show your sincerity.

Similarly, you're on your way to see Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 with a friend, spouse, lover or even a group of friends. One of you sees someone and stops to talk. You invoke the 30 second rule.

The 30 second rule? That's when you give the friend, spouse, lover or even friends 30 seconds to conduct their socializing. Then you are permitted to move on without them and also without grief or retaliation.

These are just a couple of suggestions about festivaling. If you have some of your own, please send them on.