Spring festivals return in Louisiana: Here’s how organizers plan to keep festival-goers safe

Spring festivals make a comeback, but this season will look different.

Organizers are preparing for a very different festival season, including a brand new drive-in festival taking shape.

After a year, finally, those familiar sights and sounds of spring festivals are coming back.

“We just want to get back to normal,” said Chris “Shaggy” Davis, NOLA Crawfish Festival producer.

Source: NOLA Crawfish Fest

In New Orleans, some festival-goers can already get their first taste this weekend.

“We wanted to do something to keep the NOLA Crawfish Festival alive,” Davis said.

Davis says his NOLA Crawfish Fest usually draws about 5,000 people. But with outdoor events in the city capped at 250 people, he had to crawl back the capacity.

“I know that I don’t want to get sick, and I think New Orleans has done a great job,” Davis said.

This year, his solution is a scaled-down outdoor concert on Saturday and Sunday at The Broadside.

“It’s just going to be different,” Davis said.

Source: WVUE FOX 8 photo

Larger spring events, like the Louisiana Crawfish Festival, will also look different. They’re coming back much smaller, for now.

“The restrictions are going to be a challenge, but we’re ready for the challenge,” said Cisco Gonzales, vice president of the Louisiana Crawfish Festival Foundation. “We’re ready to bring back some entertainment and some fun for the public.”

Organizers say they’re ready with a safety plan to avoid becoming a super spreader.

“We ordered extra sanitizer stations. We ordered a lot of tape on the ground for social distancing, x’s and o’s,” Gonzales said.

And here’s another safety measure: more tents to keep people spaced out while eating and drinking. Plus, they’re keeping an eye on the crowds.

“We’re looking at 13,000 plus people we can have in here,” Gonzales said.

Source: Farmstand Live

And while those Jazz Fest gates won’t open again until this fall, one new event hopes to fill that void.

“It’s a one-stop shop. It’s a new twist on dinner and a show,” said Emily Vanlandingham, founder of Farmstand Live.

At the Shrine on Airline, the first-ever Farmstand Live will launch a drive-in music and food fest on April 24 and May 1.

Photo credit: Jeff Farsai

“You get three spaces per car. So, one space to park in, one space to hang out and tailgate in, and one space for social distancing,” Vanlandingham said.

The founder says she also wants her event to help more people impacted by the pandemic get back to work.

“Seeing the devastation between the three different industries: entertainment, hospitality and farming, I mean, knew I could help,” Vanlandingham said.

In June, other big festivals like Hogs for the Cause will make a comeback, and prepare for a busy fall with French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest.

See a list of upcoming festivals here.

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