cajunzydecophotos > Collections

This collection includes photos taken during Festival de Musique Acadienne et Créoles at the 40th anniversary Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, Girard Park, Lafayette, Oct. 10, 11, and 12, 2014.
The current festivals have their beginning in “A Tribute to Cajun Music” held in 1974 at Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette. More historical background is included at www.festivalsacadiens.com/. Though I (as do most people) almost always use the umbrella designation Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, the music component, since 1980, has been designated as Festival de Musique Acadienne (with “et Créole” added to the title in 2008, when it was also added to “Festivals Acadiens”). The music festival along with the Bayou Food Fest and the Louisiana Crafts Fair make up Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.

As part of the commemorative activities, an exhibit titled “Visions of Tradition: 40 Years of Festivals Acadiens et Créoles” was on display in the A. Hays Town Home of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Paul and Lulu Hilliard Art Museum, located next to Girard Park. Curated by Philip Gould, who has taken many iconic photographs of Cajun, Creole, and zydeco musicians, it featured more than 100 photos, posters and other memorabilia from past festivals, including 24 of my photographs.

In 2014, I managed to get at least some shots of every band performing on the two main stages, Scène Ma Louisiane and Scène Mon Héritage, except for Wayne Toups and ZydeCajun, the final band on Saturday. I was by that time just too tired to push my way through the huge crowd to try to wedge into a spot where I could aim my telephoto lens between all of the heads and shoulders in front of the stage.

This year, so much was going on at the festival that I didn’t take in a lot of the music at smaller venues. I got photos of several bands at the Salle de Danse tent on Sunday. The location of Scène Atelier was changed this year so that it was no longer a midway stop between the two main stages, making it less convenient for me to access as I crisscrossed Girard Park, though I don’t think the location was a problem for other festival goers. This year there was also a fifth stage, Scène d’Anniversaire. It was located close to the Hilliard Art Museum at a considerable distance from the main stages.

Sunshine illuminated the front part of Scène Ma Louisiane during the morning and poured in from the left side in the late afternoon, creating strongly contrasting lighting which I sometimes tried partly to even out using my flash. This year Scène Mon Héritage was repositioned so that more sunlight from the southwest fell on the stage during the afternoon, creating more problems with contrasting light.
The biggest problem I faced this year was an equipment failure: late Saturday afternoon my Nikon f2.8 24-70 mm lens suddenly froze at f2.8 so that, regardless of the aperture setting on my camera, the actual aperture remained wide open. My only alternative on Sunday was to switch to a Nikon f3.5-5.6 28-300 mm lens that isn’t quite as sharp and that focuses more slowly. I continued to use my other telephoto lenses but sometimes got lazy and kept the utility 300 mm lens on my camera when I should have switched to a better telephoto lens.

But my minor problems certainly didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of a spectacular Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. It’s an amazing event that seems to get better every year. For more information, go to www.festivalsacadiens.com/.