Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival set for July 14-15

Folk Festival crafts 2017


The 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern Folk Festival will be held July 14-15 in Prather Coliseum on the Northwestern State University campus. Festival hours are 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets are $13 for an advance all-events pass through July 11. Advance tickets are free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door for $6 for Friday night, $10 for all day Saturday or $6 for Saturday after 5 p.m.

“The 2017 Festival theme ‘Keeping Tradition Alive!’ celebrates the ways in which so many outstanding artists young and old are tapping into the power and artistry of the old ways, revitalizing and reimagining tradition as they make it their own,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Folk Festival and the Louisiana Folklife Festival at NSU.  “As the artists taking part in the 2017 Festival demonstrate, Louisiana folk culture is vibrant and diverse.”

The Southeast Tourism Society has named the 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern State University Folk Festival one of the STS Top 20 Events in the Southeast for July 2017.

The folk music of many culture groups will be featured, with Cajun music by Ray Abshire and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, French Creole la la music by Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys, Zydeco by Gerard Delafose and the Zydeco Gators and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience, traditional Delta tunes by the Back Porch Band, bluegrass by the Clancey Ferguson Band, Texas swing by the Caddo Creek Band, and blues by Hezekiah and the Houserockers, the Wayne “Blue” Burns Band and Ed Huey.

Saturday’s activities include three stages of live music, Cajun dance lessons, dancing, narrative sessions, KidFest, a Cajun accordion workshop, and traditional crafts. Outside demonstrations include blacksmithing, working cattle dogs and horseshoeing. Traditional crafts such as wood carving, Czech Pysanky eggs, Spanish moss dolls, pine needle baskets and handmade furniture will be exhibited on Saturday only, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Prather Coliseum.

Narrative sessions will be held throughout the day in the N-Club Room in Prather Coliseum covering topics including St. Joseph altars, country music in the Delta, the cajun accordion, Choctaw-Apache foodways, Choctaw wedding traditions in the Delta, blues in the Delta, preserving Delta material culture and zydeco traditions.

The Annual Louisiana State Fiddle Championship will be on Saturday, July 15 starting at 1 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall on the NSU campus. Late registration will be at noon. Fiddlers from around the state will compete for cash prizes in the championship and non-championship divisions.

Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., the Louisiana Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Fund Program, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative of the National Park Service, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, the City of Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Cleco.

For more information about the Festival or the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, contact the Louisiana Folklife Center at or (318) 357-4332. For more information about Natchitoches, contact the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714.

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