On Aug. 3, there was a small festival in the heart of Opelousas, housed at the civic center. The Festival showcased a plethora of different talents, with booths set up for you to enjoy everything south Louisiana has to offer, including artwork, music, poetry and even martial arts. After attending the festival I gave myself a few days to think about the exact effect of something like this, then sat down to write about it.
I came to the conclusion that a festival like this one is not only gratifying, but unifying. In the wake of devastating events like shootings and police brutality, the event felt like more like community outreach than a talent show. The combination of talents in one room melted into this familial, intimate feeling of self.
Through every performance, there was something to be gained from it. All I could hope for in going to a festival like this one is to be entertained, but I walked away enlightened. From Calebjit, I got a soulful resonance of heartbreak, to hope. The mix of vocal ranges and melancholy instrumentals tugged at the heart strings; I had a feeling that was intentional.
BasdaPoett’s performance was different, but just as effective. Drive, a much needed animosity, and struggle for something different, something to change. It wasn’t just music being performed, but invocations.
Lastly, I saw LuckyLou, an artist who’s song “Stomp the Violence” is so much more important following the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. As he sang and danced with children on a stage in front of me, the message was as clear physically as it was lyrically. The song and routine was a perfect showcase for how things could be. We could be having these moments, these little bubbles of joy, it’s just a shame that we have to make the bubbles bulletproof for the time being, out of fear of an act of clear domestic terrorism.
The feelings didn’t stop there though, the circle completed itself when you walked around the civic center. From abstract artwork to art with a purpose of advocacy, there was not a spot in the building void of culture. It was described as a cultural explosion by one of the spokespeople there, and I couldn’t help but agree.
Communities need something like this. We live in a country now that often times doesn’t resemble the America we’ve idealized. It’s shifting and changing into something we don’t recognize. Though at some points it seems hopeless, a festival like this reminds me that it isn’t. It reminds me that, in every city, there will be a community like this. A community full of talent, art, passion and culture.
As a people, we have to channel all of that into something bigger than ourselves. Forget what America is known for now and make something new out of it. A festival may seem small, but never doubt the strength of culture. The strength of people coming together for the common good. A purpose that has become forgotten, but will hopefully be back in America’s line of sight one day.
To spread the word of these incredible artists, I’ve snagged as many handles as I could.
BasdaPoett: Instagram @BasdaPoett
CalebJit: Instagram @CalebJIT
LuckyLou: Facebook @4LuckyLou