The 28th annual Festival International de Louisiane came to a close Sunday evening after five days filled with music, dancing, and a taste of the francophone world.
The festival’s Executive Director, Missy Paschke-Wood said the festival was a success. “There were so many people here this year. It was fantastic, the crowds were joyful, happy and having a great time just like every year,” said Paschke-Wood. The festival packed the streets of Downtown Lafayette this past weekend. Organizers do not have an exact number of attendees since it is a free festival, but Paschke-Wood said they have an estimation.
“We estimate every year that we have around 400,000 people so we haven’t had a study done in a very long time so it’s hard to accurately measure the number of people that come through. Over the course of the five days, we think it’s right around there,” said Paschke-Wood. Many of the thousands that attended were from all over the world such as one musician from Athens, Greece who says he couldn’t have had a better experience.
“I would say that both gigs were fantastic. I mean the crowd was really, really enthusiastic and we’re so glad to do it. It was a great experience, said Lysandros Falireas of the band, Imam Baildi. Of course Falireas couldn’t come to Acadiana without experiencing that good old southern hospitality. “We met fantastic people everywhere. Everybody’s got like five new friends. It’s amazing how friendly you people are,” said Falireas.
While attendance numbers were high, the festival did see a shortage in beverage sales which accounts for 30 percent of their income. Organizers are currently looking into ways to make up for the shortfall and are already getting ready for next year’s festival.