Thirty-two years ago, Marc Savoy met Ann Allen at the National Folk Festival in Washington, D.C. Since 1966, Savoy has been operating Savoy Music Center outside of Eunice, where he also builds his Acadian brand accordions. Allen grew up in Richmond, Va., and spoke French fluently. The two married a year later, in 1976. Savoy has gone on to produce some of the richest recorded Cajun music with the likes of Dewey Balfa and Walter “Cheese” Read and has become the guiding star of Cajun accordion manufacturing. Allen went onto pen the 1984 book Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People and perform with the all-female group The Magnolia Sisters.
With Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil fame, the trio has performed together as the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band since 1977. And with two of their children, the Savoys perform as The Savoy Family Band. Fiddler and son Joel was a founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers and is the driving force behind Valcour Records. Accordionist and rollicking piano player Wilson Savoy is a member of the nationally-renowned Cajun band, the Pine Leaf Boys.
The Savoy Family Band is being honored this Sunday as part of this year’s Festivals Acadiens and will perform at 2 p.m. on the Festival Stage in Girard Park.
In 1977, the Tribute to Cajun Music Festival merged with the Louisiana Native Crafts Festival and later the Bayou Food Festival to create the new Festivals Acadiens — the weekend-long celebration of Cajun music, food and crafts. Within the last few years, there’s been other welcome additions to the festival, including a second stage of music at the Heritage Pavilion, the Louisiana Folk Roots workshop tent, and this year, a jam tent. And with the festival being pushed back nearly a month from its traditional September date, the early autumn should offer some copacetic south Louisiana weather, even if it decides to rain.
Festivals Acadiens kicks off at noon on Friday with Cajun du Nord performing for Bach Lunch at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette. Then at 4 p.m., Melissa Stevenson will play music for kids, along with crafts, refreshments and face painting. T-Salé takes the stage at Parc International for Downtown Alive at 5:30 p.m., followed by Lil’ Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers at 7:30 p.m.
For a complete schedule of events and performances for Festivals Acadiens, see page 39 or visit www.festivalsacadiens.com. Free parking will be available Saturday and Sunday at Cajun Field, with a shuttle bus running to Girard Park for $1 a person. Elderly and handicapped parking is available on a first come basis at the parking lot next to Earl K. Long Gym on Girard Park Circle. No ice chests, barbecue pits, glass containers, bicycles, RVs, pets, or skateboards are allowed.