“I’m the kind of guy who needs a project,” admits Glenn Fields. Besides being the drummer of the popular swamp pop aggregation the Revelers, Fields was named the Executive Director of Louisiana Folk Roots in January, succeeding Todd Mouton.
Louisiana Folk Roots is a nonprofit organization founded by Christine Balfa and Dirk Powell so Cajuns and Creoles could learn their cultural music locally without having to trek to foreign soils. 17 years after its inception, Folk Roots hosts several instructional music camps throughout the year. Its marquee event is the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week, also known as Balfa Week, a fun-filled week of music, culture, dance and food where students learn from professional musicians.
Almost immediately, Fields walked into the position with a vision: to better connect the cultural resources of Acadiana and Southeast Texas. Although Cajun music is being studied and played throughout the region, Fields says: “Lafayette seems to be this insular bubble sometimes. There’s no reason why there is this disconnect between, say, Ville Platte, Eunice or Lake Charles and Southeast Louisiana, like Houma, where Cajun music is still being played and people are speaking French. It is a great opportunity to reach out to all of those areas and get it all under one umbrella and feed off of each other.”
Fields sees good things happening throughout the area, such as George Marks and the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective in Arnaudville, but some things don’t always get the notoriety they deserve.
“That is my dream, to somehow grow the organization to where it can be a resource for people like this. Funding is the unicorn these days but at the very least connect these folks and make sure they’re working together. That is going to be the key to turning things around in the cultural arts world is to bring folks together so we can work en masse, as opposed to this guy over here shouting and that guy over there shouting.”
Both the Black Pot Festival, a festival Fields and his then-band the Red Stick Ramblers founded 11 years ago, and the younger Grand Hoorah Festival have been incorporated into the Folk Roots framework.
Besides being excited about working with a motivated board of directors, Fields says the possibilities are endless. Just recently someone from the Baton Rouge Blues Festival inquired about potential collaborations with Folk Roots. “I would love to get Folk Roots’ toes into the blues history we have in Louisiana,” Fields says. “I’m super stoked about this, man. It gives me a chance to do what I love to do, which is to connect people.”