Two days of crawfish and Creole flavor is there for the enjoying at this year’s Crosby Zydeco Festival.
It’s set for April 1-2 at the Crosby Fairgrounds, 700 Church Street, with Keith Frank and Step Rideau the headliners for the final day. Music begins at 2:30 p.m. each day.
“This event is over 30 years old,” Troy Barrett, producer, said. “All the greats have played at this event.”
Begun in 1991 by Willie Dalcour with only a few hundred attending, Barrett says it grew to host crowds of as many as 15,000 in the mid-aughts.
“They used to shut the city down back in the day,” Barrett said.
Then came the disasters – Hurricane Ike in 2008 and 500-year floods leading up to the worst of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The festival went on a four-year hiatus and Barrett, who took it over from Dalcour about a decade ago, had, shall we say, a soft re-opening last year. He says about 2,500 attended on a weekend that offered four other competing local events.
He is looking to rekindle the old sparks this spring.
“I went to my first Zydeco Fest in 1999 and once I heard that music, it changed my life,” Barrett said. “I went full-blown into Zydeco music. I couldn’t just go to an event; I had to put one on.”
Barrett’s Lord & Barrett Sausage Company is a sponsor of the event and there will be plenty of the product to eat.
“But we’ll have tons of crawfish and Louisiana foods coming in,” he said, running down a list that included gumbo, etouffee, fried fish and shrimp and chicken wings.
It’s the music, though, that plays in the soul of the entrepreneur, a first-generation Texan with Louisiana roots.
“The music is just infectious. It gets in your ears and just takes my body over,” Barrett said.
Saturday’s lineup includes Lil Nate, Brian Jack, Keyon and The Zydeco Masters, Ruben Moreno and Zydeco Re-Evolution and Leon Chavis and the Zydeco Flames.
Sunday’s lineup includes Frank, a native of Soileau, Louisiana, and a crowd favorite since the 1990s. He and his Soileau Zydeco Band have produced 16 CDs over the years.
Like his father Preston, he plays the accordian.
Rideau’s instrument of choice is the squeezebox, too. He was born in Lebeau, Louisiana, but didn’t start as a musician until after he moved to Houston.
He and his Zydeco Outlaws have a worldwide following and have appeared at the 2012 Presidential Inauguration, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and shared the stage with artists as varied as Gladys Knight, George Clinton, Bobby Blue Bland and the Eli Young Band.
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