The 42nd Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival will be held Saturday, July 23 in the air-conditioned Prather Coliseum, located at 220 South Jefferson Street at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. The Festival will continue all day from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The family festival is fully wheelchair accessible.
The theme of the 2022 Festival is “Stronger Together: The Power of Traditional Culture”. “We are very grateful to be able to host a face-to-face event again,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the festival and the Louisiana Folklife Center at NSU. “This year’s theme will celebrate how folk traditions bring people together in positive ways, bringing comfort, hope, joy and inspiration. We are truly stronger together than apart!
Violinist extraordinaire Amanda Shaw is the festival’s honorary president and will be the main performer with her band Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys. Shaw will also be inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center Hall of Master Folk Artists. Said Rasmussen, “It is our honor to recognize Amanda Shaw as an incredibly exciting musician, whose distinctive sound captures the vibrancy of traditional Louisiana culture. Louisiana music is alive and well thanks to artists like Ms. Shaw who inspire others to follow in her footsteps. Other artists to be inducted into the Hall of Master Folk Artists in 2022 are musical instrument maker RV Couch, handmade wire toy maker Elvin Shields and the Louisiana Czech Heritage Dancers.
According to her biography: “Music has been embedded in Shaw’s world for as long as she can remember. She has become one of the most recognizable brands in Louisiana music. From national appearances on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Today Show’s Roker-thon and Rosie O’Donnell Show, to a one-off performance with Cyndi Lauper, Shaw’s magnetic presence has helped her build an extraordinary following. of fans and supporters. Young fans admire Shaw for his fiddle skills and sassy sense of style, while fans of The Order respect his strong work ethic and sincere sensibility, but audiences of all ages agree that the musical talent and personality Shaw’s appeal give her a special flair and make her an incredible representative of Louisiana’s musical melting pot.
Shaw works extremely hard to give her fans the best she has to offer, and her passion for her craft has been recognized with prestigious honors and awards throughout her career. The local artist has received dozens of accolades, including the Big Easy Award for Best Female Artist, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Future Celeb, Offbeat Magazine’s Top Singer/Songwriter of the Year, and many more. . In the past, she has also collaborated with Grammy-winning musicians, such as Chubby Carrier, and acclaimed songwriters, including Matthew Gerrard, to provide her fans with a superior way to experience world-class music rooted in Louisiana.
“Growing up in the music industry, I had the chance to tell my story to an international audience,” says Shaw. “I have traveled to many places and experienced many cultures, but I never lose sight of my Louisiana roots. My intention with my music is to bring a bit of Louisiana culture wherever I go.
The festival features three music stages, with free classes in Cajun and zydeco dance taught by the French Cajun Music Association dance troupe, Cajun by Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, zydeco by The LaCour Trio and Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, French Creole to the music of Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys, and dancing to the Golden Oldies of the 50s and 60s with popular band Flashback. There will also be traditional Native American songs and dances by the Caddo Culture Club, lion dance performances by the Rising Dragon Lion Dance Team and the Louisiana Czech Heritage Dancers, gospel by Joyful Sounds, a musical tribute to the late artist of Hardrick Rivers blues, Celtic music by the Haggis Rampant Celtic Band and Thistle Dancers and Pipers, and a special performance by the Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble. The Festival will also include many food vendors offering traditional Louisiana cuisine. Outdoor activities include demonstrations of traditional blacksmithing and black pot cooking. A practical, child-friendly demonstration of a wash day in the 19th century will also be presented.
The annual Louisiana State Violin Championship will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Magale Recital Hall. There will be a non-championship class and a championship class. A double violin category will also take place. Registration is at noon in the first floor foyer outside Magale Recital Hall. The winner of the Fiddle Championship will perform on the main stage at Prather Coliseum at 4:30 p.m.
The festival includes several opportunities for guests to engage directly with Louisiana folk culture. An interactive workshop entitled “Beginning Cajun Guitar” will take place at noon. Taught by Cajun guitarist Yvette Landry and fiddler Beau Thomas, the workshop will focus on rhythm guitar playing in traditional Cajun music using open and closed guitar chords. Several traditional Cajun songs will be used as examples. The workshop will also demonstrate how to incorporate “bass runs” when moving from chord to chord to add bass and rhythm when playing as part of a traditional Cajun ensemble. Participation in the Cajun Guitar Workshop will be free for Festival audience members. The guitar workshop replaces a harmonica workshop which was canceled due to the teacher’s illness.
“The Festival attempts to bridge the distance between artists and Festival patrons, thereby breaking down the artificial barriers between artists and audiences,” Rasmussen said. “Rather than looking aside, everyone who participates in these activities will share and engage in Louisiana’s rich culture.” Storytelling sessions include a presentation on Acadian brown cotton, an introduction to Native American Caddo traditions, and musical “informances” by Amanda Shaw, Geno Delafose, and Goldman Thibodeaux.
Over 75 craft vendors were invited to exhibit and discuss their traditional work with Festival patrons. Artisans are expected to display beads, baskets, cowhide chair covers, alligator jewelry, Pysanky eggs, Native American crafts and pottery. Other expected artisans will exhibit needlework, wood carvings, handmade toys and dolls, paintings, sculptures, homemade soap, spinning and weaving, artisan knives, brooms handmade, canes, folk art quilts, etc.
KidFest will again be available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Kidfest is a dedicated space for kid-friendly activities and is a fun way for kids to examine their own cultural and family traditions as well as those across the state. Children 12 and under are admitted free to the Festival.
ASL interpretation, assistive listening devices, and audio description will be available upon prior request for cultural talks in the Festival N-Club room from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and for interpretive “informance” music by the Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Please make your requests for ASL interpretation, assistive listening devices, and audio description for these events by Friday, July 15 by contacting [email protected] or (318) 357-4332.
The festival is supported by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., Louisiana Division of the Arts, Louisiana Office of Tourism, Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.
Festival tickets are $10.00 at the door for all events, or $6.00 for an evening pass for all events after 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (318) 357-4332, email [email protected], or visit louisianafolklife.nsula.edu.