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Dueling Fests--Cajun, Folk Shows Pick the Same Date


Two major summer festivals showcasing American traditional music will give Southland audiences one-stop access to performances by dozens of folk, country, Cajun and zydeco performers.

Trouble is, those fans will be forced to choose: The Troubadours of Folk festival at UCLA and the 7th Annual Cajun & Zydeco Festival in Long Beach are booked on the same weekend in June.

"I'm not happy about that," said Ted Myers, A&R coordinator for Rhino Records, one of the sponsors of the June 5-6 folk festival. "I was misinformed. Somebody told me that the Cajun-zydeco festival was held on the last weekend in May. So when we were deciding on dates for Troubadours of Folk, I said, 'Great, we'll be the week after.'

"Stupidly on my part," he continued, "I took somebody's word and never checked. The Cajun-zydeco event is one of my favorite events all year. We never intended to be competing with them."

Troubadours of Folk will feature such veterans and relative newcomers as Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, John Prine, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, John Hammond, Peter Paul & Mary, Syd Straw and Odetta.

Topping the lineup for the Cajun-zydeco festival, about 30 miles southeast of UCLA, will be returnees C. J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, John Delafose & the Eunice Playboys and Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys plus first-timers Sheryl Cormier and the Iguanas.

There is little overlap between the performers at the two events, with one major exception: Michael Doucet & Beausoleil, a Cajun band that has played the Cajun-zydeco festival several times since its inception in 1987.

As a Rhino Records act, Beausoleil will play the folk festival, both on its own and backing Mary-Chapin Carpenter on her Cajun-ized breakthrough hit, "Down at the Twist & Shout."

Myers expressed hope that the Troubadours of Folk would become an annual event--with better timing. "I'm sorry if I've created a dilemma for any fans," he said. "It won't happen again. I've spoken to (the Cajun-zydeco festival promoters) and we're on good terms. We're going to coordinate on dates in the future."

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