The gist: Festival International is a sensory overload. Try to do too much, and you end up doing nothing at all. Here are our picks (mostly Christiaan’s) of what to do, see, eat and hear at the Cajun Coachella — if you only have the time or energy to choose one thing for each of the essential Festival urges.
Must do: Grab an RFID wristband. OK, bear with me, it’s not exactly a tasty scene pick, but this year the bracelet does more than load you up with drinking money. The wristbands buy food and merchandise, too, all with the wave of your hand (actually you tap the device to spend the scrilla). You’ll be like a jedi. A jedi who pays a small processing fee to use the Force. Here’s a tip, register here (stop reading this newsletter, I’ll wait), and then head to Parish Ink on Jefferson Street to pick up the bracelet before the weekend breaks to catch shorter lines and pre-soak your festival brain.
Must see: Clandestine Collective Silent Disco. It’s not exactly a performance (it’s maybe more of a “do” than a see, but I already had a do, see above), but it’s something worth checking out for the novelty alone. First, yes, silent discos are a thing. Just because millennials and Gen Z-ers do it doesn’t make it stupid. (Although it does look kind of silly.) You like avocado toast, right? I rest my case. Silent discos beam the party of your choice straight to the eardrums; you can tune in or tune out based on your preference or mood, curated by three of Lafayette’s finest: DJ Digital (hip-hop), DJ Concourse (EDM) and Andre Broussard (classic soul, funk). Ignore all your friends Thursday night at 10 p.m. at the Lounge at Tsunami. Buy tickets here.
Must eat: Beef Patacón at Patacón Latin Cusine. A patacón is a Venezuelan sandwich that swaps bread for tostones (smashed and deep fried plantains). It’s the rare sandwich where the outside is the bigger hook than the inside, and in the case of the patacón from Patacón Latin Cuisine, easily one of the best international flavors in Lafayette, that’s saying something. Patacón’s slow-cooked shredded beef is soft-bellied with a crispy kiss from the griddle — a deadly combination with the tostone crunch and a rich mayo sauce. This thing is devastating. Find a grassy patch to recuperate when you’re done.
Must hear: Gato Preto. A collision of world beat and hip-hop, Gato Preto is the kind of break out act Festival delivers year after year. MC Gato Misteriosa’s Portuguese cadence is hooky and approachable, despite the language barrier, and she spits it like a Mozambican Missy Elliott. The international duo’s stage production — menacing Afrofuturism, retrostarship blacklights, whirling dancers and drummers — is a spectacle made for Festival after dark. Gato Preto has three performances scheduled. Thursday, 9:45 p.m. at Scène Fais Do Do. Thursday, 11 p.m. at Blue Moon Rhythm & Roots with GIVERS. Saturday, 9 p.m. at Scène Lafayette.
Festival International runs Wednesday, April 24 through Sunday April 28 in Downtown Lafayette.