geaux green! | eco cajun's guide to festival international

Festival International Week is upon us! And coincidentally, this year it kicks off on Earth Day! All the more reason to go green this weekend.

My fiance and I are Festival fanatics, and it'll be our fourth year spending the whole final weekend of April together in downtown Lafayette, checking out new bands, hanging out with friends, eating really good food, and just enjoying the spirit and the culture of our home. We're also as eco-friendly as we can be, from being prepared and packing right to choosing better transportation.

Two years ago, I created the Eco Cajun Guide to Festival, and this year it's back and better than before!

Festival International supports and encourages all efforts to keep the area clean both before, and most importantly, after Festival has ended with the goal of leaving the area as clean as possible.

If you spend even just one full day out at Festival, it's smart to pack a good bag. You'll avoid the last-minute scramble for something you forgot, and you'll avoid resorting to disposable goods.


  • Reusable water bottle. You're going to need water in the heat.
  • Weather gear. Sunscreen (unless you're a fan of funky sunburn patterns), a light sweater (sometimes it can get cool in the evening), sunglasses (obvs), a portable fan (easier than finding air conditioning), etc. If it looks like rain, grab your rain jacket or a poncho and leave the umbrellas at home. It's too crowded for all dat!
  • Cloth shopping bag. For all your unique Festival merch scores! Spare the plastic.
  • Fork, spoon and cloth napkin. You'll be able to cut down on a lot of trash if you bring your own fork, spoon and cloth napkin. A lot of food vendors will stick a utensil in the food before handing it to you, so if you get plastic, rinse and reuse it, or save it for recycling instead of throwing it away.
  • Official Festival app downloaded on your phone. Geaux paperless! But the app is more than just a schedule and map - it's interactive! You can save your favorite bands and add their show time to your phone's calendar. You can also save your favorite food and merch vendors, so you can make sure you visit everyone before the weekend is over.
  • Towel to use as a rag or tiny blanket. Skip the napkins and paper towels.
  • Ziploc bag for electronics in case of rain. Lord, please let Festival weekend be rain-free, especially after the past week of rain dumped on us. But...should it rain, have something that will keep your phone or camera dry.
  • Portable backup cell phone charger. If you're out all day, and you're busy Instagramming, your phone battery will probably die. Grab a portable backup battery and have it ready to go. It'll give you just enough boost to make it until the last band stops!


Now that you're all packed and ready for a full day, let's talk about how you're going to get to Festival. My personal choice? Ride ya bike! You can avoid the hassle of parking and walking, and you save gas.

There is no official bike valet, but there will be bike racks all over and plenty of places where your bikes can be locked up. Just be courteous and don't lock them in the middle of crowds or sidewalks.

If you plan to bike, get a tune-up before the weekend, so everything is in tip-top shape. Downtown shop Hub City Cycles is ready to get you fixed up, or you can go to any local bike shop.

If you don't have a bike or live too far away, take the Festival shuttle. It runs every 15 minutes from Cajun Field a few miles away, and drops you off in the middle of the fun. The shuttle helps to keep a lot of cars out of downtown, making it safer, plus you won't spend 45 minutes riding around trolling for a parking spot. And it's free, where parking downtown can run $10-$20. Save ya money for food, drinks and souvenirs!

The shuttle stops at:
  • Jefferson and Lee intersection (near Filling Station)
  • Garfield and Buchanan intersection (near La Carreta and City Bar)
THURSDAY: 5:00pm – 11:30pm
FRIDAY: 4:30pm – 11:30pm
SATURDAY: 10:30am – Midnight
SUNDAY: 10:30am – 8:00pm

If you take a car, be sure to carpool with your friends. The fewer cars on the road, the better!




Once you're at Festival, don't forget about that awesome bag you packed, and don't start littering downtown! Reduce paper waste by using the Festival app to refer to band schedules and stage information instead of grabbing a handful of paper guides that will either end up at the bottom of your backpack, spilled on or left-behind. Wet paper can't be recycled anyway.

Reuse as much as you can. Those souvenir Festival cups? Beyond the fact they're totally reusable, did you know they are 100% recyclable? If you refuse to keep and take them home, then drop them in a recycling bin when you're done with the drink.

If you do go for a paper guide, save and reuse the same one all weekend instead of grabbing a new one each day.

If you have to throw something away, make sure it's not recyclable. If it is, then RECYCLE IT!

Festival crews are setting up 200 recycling bins for this weekend. Use them!


Now, the drink stands won't be able to fill your reusable bottle for you, so you'll end up with some plastic cups. You can pour your drink from the cup into your bottle, but make sure to recycle the plastic cup instead of throwing it away, or worse, littering it.

As Jessica with the Daily Advertiser notes:
Festival organizers do a great job at making sure there are trash receptacles strategically placed throughout downtown. Now there's recycling, too. So what's your excuse for placing that empty Michelob Ultra can in the windowsill of the Chase Bank building? You don't have one.




Many vendors at Festival have green products, from recycled to local to handmade. Support these vendors and show them you support sustainability! There are some truly great recycled things to find, and they are beautifully unique.

I can't wait to check out my favorite vendors Mimosa by m.e., Beatrix Bell, Desjardins Jewelry, UP Unique Products, Miki Cotton Copper Art, Black and Bluebird Studios, Mana Culture, and maaaaaybe even the henna tattoo tent.  

And as a reminder, Mother's Day is coming up in a few very short weeks, so get ya Mama something handmade, upcycled or sustainable from a Festival vendor!



Volunteer and help Festival run smoothly! You can even volunteer for recycling duty, which is as glamorous as it sounds. All kidding aside, volunteering makes you feel good good.

So in short, pack what you'll need for the day to make you comfortable and sustainable, use alternative transportation, support all the local vendors, and RECYCLE as much as you can!

And when you're busy Instagramming that perfect shot that captures the Festival spirit, don't forget to use the hashtags #HowIFestival and #GeauxGreen!

Did I mention the 200 recycling bins?

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