37th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival


Folk Fest 4-webThe 37th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival will be held July 15th and 16th in Prather Coliseum, which is located at 220 South Jefferson Street in Natchitoches on the campus of Northwestern State University.  The site is wheelchair accessible and the festival is family oriented.  No alcohol is allowed or sold on the site.


The 2016 Festival theme is “Emerging Artists,” celebrating the many outstanding new artists keeping traditions alive in Louisiana. “Traditional culture is important to these artists,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the festival and the Louisiana Folklife Center at NSU. “Louisiana’s folkways are not just of the past, but also of the present, and the voices of these artists emerge as a clarion call, reminding us of the vibrancy of traditional culture. This new generation of artists are today’s tradition bearers, and their impressive mastery of old forms made anew is a showcase of a living cultural legacy.”


Folk Fest 1-webThe Annual Louisiana State Fiddle Championship will also be part of the Festival. The Fiddle Championship will be held July 16th at 1:00pm in Magale Recital Hall. There will be a non-championship class and a championship class. Registration is at noon in the second floor foyer outside Magale Recital Hall. The Fiddle Championship winner will perform on the main stage in Prather Coliseum at 5:30pm.


Among the featured musical groups on Friday will be Joyful Sounds, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Briggs Brown and the Bayou Cajuns, Ed Huey, line dancing with the LaCour Trio, Hardrick Rivers and the Rivers Revue Band, and an open bluegrass and country jam with Max and Marcy. There will also be Cajun dance lessons on Friday and Saturday.


Folk Fest 2-webMusical groups performing on Saturday are Catahoula Drive and the Sabine River Bend Band, Tommy Hailey, Bill Romano and Amanda Ryland, the Rising Dragon Lion Dance Team, Lil Wayne and Same Ol’ 2 Step, the Huval-Fuselier Cajun Trio, Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys, the St. Savior Baptist Church Choir and Young Adult Choir, Bubba Hebert and the New Morse Playboys, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, the Sarah Jayde Combeaux, Hardrick Rivers and the Rivers Revue Band, Twang Darkly, and an open bluegrass and country jam with Max and Marcy. Said Rasmussen, “This year’s line-up of artists is amazing. Folks are going to love the Vietnamese lion dancers, and no one plays traditional New Orleans jazz better than Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns.”


The Festival includes several opportunities for patrons to engage directly with Louisiana folk culture, including two harmonica workshops to include a free Hohner harmonica for the first 60 workshop participants, a rubboard workshop, as well as the Cajun dance lessons.  Each will be free for members of the Festival audience. Said Rasmussen, “The Festival attempts to bridge the distance between artists and the Festival patrons, thus breaking the artificial barriers between artists and audience. Rather than watching from the sidelines, everyone who takes part in these activities will share and engage in Louisiana’s rich culture.”


Folk Fest 3-webKidFest will once again be available on Saturday from 8:30am to 4:00pm.  Kidfest is an area dedicated to child-friendly activities and is a fun way for children to examine their own cultural and family traditions as well as those from around the state.


Two day all-events passes may be purchased in advance through July 12th at a discounted price of $12.00 per person.  Advance tickets can be purchased at the Louisiana Folklife Center located in Room 213 of Kyser Hall on the NSU campus.  Tickets are also available for purchase by mail by sending a check or money order made payable to Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival to the following address: Northwestern State University, LA Folklife Center, NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497.  For more information on purchasing tickets, call (318) 357-4332.


Children age 12 and under receive free admission to all events on both days.  Ticket prices for adults are $5.50 per person for Friday, July 15th; $8.50 per person for all events on Saturday, July 18th; $5.50 per person for an evening pass to all events after 5:00pm on Saturday, July 18th.


Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Louisiana Division of the Arts – Shreveport Regional Arts Council, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the Cane River National Heritage Area, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Inc., the Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Natchitoches, and CLECO.

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For more information, call (318) 357-4332, send an email to folklife@nsula.edu, go to louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/ or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/NSULAFOLKLIFECENTER.