Top 5 Festival International style...**
TOP 5 Most Memorable Moments at Festival International**
1. Bonnie Rait's surprise appearance with Jon Cleary. 2000.
2. The Mammals singing "The Bush Boys," then being asked not to sing it again. (2005). See citation below.
3. Terrence Simien singing Sam Cooke's Cupid, and then Cupid and company premiering his new dance song, The Cupid Shuffle. 2008.
4. March Fourth Marching Band. 2008.
5. Blind Boys of Alabama. 2008.
The Mammals 2005. "Bush controversy."
A request by Louisiana-based Festival International on April 24 to "trad-is-rad" band The Mammals has raised much discussion on free speech and censorship issues. At a set on Saturday the 23, The Mammals encored with their anti-George Bush song "The Bush Boys." The next day, after approximately 17 phone complaints, the festival asked the band not to play the song again. Vice President of Programming Jimmie Duhon stated, "Our festival is about building unity, and we as a festival feel like political bashing does not help build unity." Executive Director Dana Canedo said, "My biggest concern was that the band would be treated unfairly." Duhon and Canedo went on to say that future performer contracts will be reviewed and possibly changed in order to be consistent with the festival's mission of promoting unity and that it is in no way a matter of censorship. Obviously, this could become a messy situation if language in the contracts could be construed as limiting free speech. The festival will also need to contend with the international acts that it hosts, for whom many politics and social issues are central to their music. Interestingly enough, in an online recounting of the incident, Mammal Ruth Ungar noted that the band rarely repeats songs during a festival appearance anyway, adding that "I walked back over and told him we were definitely not doing that song, but I couldn't promise there'd be no songs with political content and couldn't make any promises about stage banter."
Autumn dela Houssaye is graduate of University of Louisiana
and an Administrative Coordinator at Lafayette Catholic Services.