THE music, dance and cuisine of Cajun and Creole culture is heading back to Welshampton for the fifth North Shropshire Big Weekend.
The village will be hosting the music and dance festival on August 12, 13 and 14, welcoming international musicians to the parish hall and The Sun Inn.
The Big Weekend will be the last Cajun and Zydeco festival in the UK this year. Festival goers have the option of staying in the luxury campsite, which is again opposite the parish hall.
Organiser, Gavin Lewery, from Ellesmere, who is in a band called the Zydeco Diamonds, said: “I had the idea five years ago now to put on our own little festival here in North Shropshire in this village where I spent a lot of my time and my family has grown up here as well.
“What we do is we bring musicians from Louisiana to come and play and that’s a real bonus. There’s other Cajun festivals in the UK, but not many, but few of them bring people bring people from Louisiana and that’s what we try and do to give that real Cajun country flavour.”
Headlining this year’s festival and bringing US spangle and stardust to the village will be Louisiana Zydeco legends, Wayne Singleton and Harold Guillory plus Cajun star Lisa Trahan, also from Louisiana.
They lead a line-up of bands from the UK and Europe ranging from traditional Cajun sounds to swing, country and fiddle.
“The festival is such a good time and a good experience. There’s lots of dancing, drinking and fun. We have a chef, Sarah Savoy, from Louisiana who comes and does the food. We’ve got a giant barbeque where we cook Creole and Cajun food, we’ve got music workshops and also musicians from the UK as well, so there’s a real broadchurch of people,” Gavin said.
Gavin describes Cajun and Zydeco as a “very accessible music” and said that they would like to expand the festival to attract a younger audience as well as their current fanbase.
“What we lack is young people getting into the music. It tends to be an ageing audience who love to dance. It tends to be people people from my sort of age in their fourties or fifties, and some younger but not too many, so we’re trying to expand it and interest other people, because it’s a very accessible music,” Gavin added.
For a full schedule of the line-up, visit www.northshropshirecajun.co.uk with tickets available for the full weekend or individual events.