If you drive around the Lafayette area on any given evening – and sometimes even during the day – there’s a good chance you’ll hear live music wafting through the air from local restaurants, attractions and other venues.
“What’s so great about our area is that we have added so many music venues in just the last few years,” said Ben Berthelot, president and CEO of Lafayette Travel. “If you look at our listings, you’ll see performances at restaurants, as well as outdoor concert series across the area and other places that have welcomed music. All of those have grown over the years.”
Although live music may be reserved for the weekends in some areas, that’s not the case in Lafayette. Outdoor shows start each week on Wednesdays. Many local venues host events starting on Mondays or Tuesdays and continuing throughout the entire week.
“It’s not just one or two days here. There’s literally live music somewhere every day of the week,” Berthelot noted. “That makes it great for visitors because they know they can see a great show no matter when they are in town.”
For example, Cite des Arts hosts a bluegrass jam every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for all ages and experience levels. Prejean’s Restaurant has live music from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Tuesday and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday. And, the Dulcimer Jam takes place every Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the St. Landry Visitor’s Center in Opelousas, where anyone with a dulcimer or acoustic instrument is invited to join in.
Being in the heart of Cajun Country means that many shows feature bands that focus on Cajun and zydeco tunes. The use of the fiddle, triangle and accordion distinguishes the genres, which are also known for upbeat tempos. Many singers will perform in French, adding another air of authenticity to the performances.
However, the diversity of Lafayette culture means that venues are also happy to showcase performers from other genres, including jazz, country, rock and more.
“I think our music is very much like our cuisine in that there’s something for everybody,” Berthelot said. “A band may start playing in one genre and mix it up a bit and play something else. They really enjoy engaging the audiences and giving them a great show.”
The Lafayette Weekly email newsletter provides an up-to-date listing of live performances. A calendar of events can also be found online at www.lafayettetravel.com/lafayetteweekly. Here are some main music highlights for the month of May:
Cajun Jam at the Moon
Where: Blue Moon Saloon, 215 East Convent Street, Lafayette
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. each Wednesday
Top local musicians and international acts have been known the grace the stage, but the jam is open to any player from any skill level. The sessions tend to evolve depending on the musicians, so no two nights are ever alike. You don’t have to play to enjoy the jam. Have a drink, dance, just kick back, listen and meet folks from all around the world.
High Performance Band
Where: Pelican Park, 110 Softball Drive, Carencro
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday May 18
This local favorite is known for lively shows that inspire anyone to dance. They’ll wrap up the spring Mercredi outdoor concert series with a show for all ages.
Sonny Landreth and Marcia Ball
Where: River Ranch Town Square, 1100 Camellia Boulevard
When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday May 19
The always-popular Landreth and Ball round out the spring Rhythms on the River. Admission is free, and food and beverages are available for purchase. No pets, glass containers or ice chests.
Downtown Alive! Bach Lunch with Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole
Where: Parc Sans Souci, downtown Lafayette
When: 12 p.m. Friday May 20
Get the weekend started early with a doubleheader of live music that is sure to put everyone in the mood to have a good time. Food vendors will be set up starting at 11 a.m. Grab some lunch and set up your blankets or chairs to enjoy the music in a picnic-style setting.
Where: Hideaway Kitchen on Lee, 407 Lee Avenue, Lafayette
When: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday May 20
If classic rock is your jam, you’ll enjoy this family band from Cecilia that has been performing together for more than two decades. Sit back and enjoy their covers on songs from popular 1970s artists including Led Zeppelin, ZZTop, Rush, Journey, Bad Company and more.
Where: Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette
When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday
The jams are led by some of the Lafayette area’s top musicians. No matter who’s on the schedule, you’re guaranteed to be tapping your toes within minutes. If you can’t make on Saturday, Vermilionville also hosts live bands and dancing each Sunday afternoon.
Todd O’Neill and Cat Daddy
Where: Rock’n’Bowl de Lafayette, 905 Jefferson Street, Lafayette
When: 9 p.m. Friday May 27
A little bit of rock, a little bit of blues, a little bit of a country and a whole lot of energy are on the schedule for this show. Find tickets online at www.rocknbowl.com.