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Festival International 2012 Unforgettable Moments

Festival International wrapped up another incredible year Sunday evening, and as the vendors began closing up shop, and the stages began getting torn down, downtown Lafayette slowly returned to business as usual.

Festival International 2012 truly raised the bar to another level and will be tough to beat next year. Though we may have nearly 365 days to wait till the next festival, there’s no reason not to look back on the year that was and count down the unforgettable moments that made Festival International 2012 so special.

3. Gary Clark Jr. – A Star Is Born


Heading into the highly anticipated festival weekend there was already a substantial buzz surrounding blues rocker Gary Clark Jr. As the sun set on Friday evening and the Festival International main stage began filling to capacity, the Austin, Texas native went to work.

With the first gnarled and distorted notes that erupted from Clark Jr.’s guitar, it became clear to the crowd that they were in the presence of something special. Blessed with and ranging rocking roll voice and painfully beautiful guitar licks, Gary Clark Jr.’s set absolutely brought the house down.

The blues-man’s rocking set and enormous potential will undoubtedly have Acadiana natives claiming for years, “I was there when Gary Clark Jr. played Festival 2012.”

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2. Radio Radio Throws Down


As my friends and I slowly inched closer and closer to the stage through the packed festival crowd, we heard one phrase repeated over and over by nearly every festival patron we passed.

“I have no idea what these guys are saying, but they freaking rock!”

That night French Canadian rap trio Radio Radio transcended language. They connected to the crowd through a higher power. Though those in attendance may not have understood the words, they understood the feeling. The energy between crowd and band was powerfully palpable.

The lasting image from the night will always be seeing thousands of hands move side to side with beat cast against the backdrop of Lafayette’s well lit iconic courthouse. A powerful blend of music and culture that transcended age, ethnicity, and language. It was a beautiful multicultural connection and truly drove home what Festival International is all about.

1. Robert Randolph Finds Cajun Counterpart


When it was announced that legendary steel guitar player Robert Randolph and his Family Band would be headlining this year’s festival, everyone expected an incredible show. What they did not expect was what became our #1 magical festival moment of 2012.

Midway through his set, Randolph began calling festival patrons up from the crowd to sit in on guitar. As fate would have it, one of those selected was local musician and Son’s of Voodoo front man Lane McDonald. Much to the surprise of the band, those in attendance, and most importantly Robert Randolph, this dude could play.

Though McDonald was only expecting to play one song with the guitar legend, Randolph invited him to play many more. The set was highlighted by a high energy rendition of guitar classic ‘Voodoo Chile’.

After the show McDonald stepped off the stage and back down to earth, still buzzing after the chance opportunity to play with a guitar icon in front of a mega crowd festival crowd. McDonald’s surprise set and even more surprising musical chops proved once and for all that Acadiana rocks, and lands him the #1 spot on our list of Festival International 2012′s most unforgettable moments.

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Did you get to see any of these magical moments? What was your Festival 2012 unforgettable moment? Let us know in the comment section and be sure to click the “Like” button to share this with your friends.

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