Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers. Photo by Willow Haley

Lafayette to Host Prestigious Music Cities Convention

This fall, Lafayette will host the seventh Music Cities Convention. Civic leaders, music industry veterans and academics from around the globe will flood the zydeco capital in October for a lively, international discussion on building vibrant musical communities. Lafayette, known for its rich history of Cajun music, will serve as an ideal location and model for a convention that celebrates diversity and tradition.

“It’s an honor to be recognized on a global stage as a music city and host the Music Cities convention for only the third time that it has been in the United States,” Ben Berthelot, President & CEO of the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission, said. “We look forward to the dialogue that will take place and the opportunity to showcase our great music scene to attendees from all around the world. It will also be a great opportunity for us to add to the momentum we have with the CREATE initiative to find ways that we can become an even better city, parish and region while building upon one of our greatest assets and cultural strengths.”

CREATE, a collaborative initiative spearheaded by Lafayette Parish Government Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, seeks to strengthen and support the Cultural, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts and Tourism assets that make up the city’s cultural Economy.

“As one of the most authentically diverse musical cultures across the globe, Lafayette is thrilled to host the Music Cities Convention not only to showcase our local musical talent but to learn how to improve as a true music city in supporting our music community,” Robideaux said. “On the heels of launching our CREATE initiative, hosting the Music Cities Convention will help us connect with others that understand the value of a thriving cultural economy for the benefit of our greater community through music.”

This year’s Music Cities Convention will take place on October 11 and 12 at the Acadiana Centre for the Arts. The event will feature over 40 speakers from six continents, including at least seven native Louisianians. Robideaux and Berthelot will speak, as will Robideaux’s assistant, Kate Durio, Lafayette-based violinist Anya Burgess, New Orleans businesswoman Tara Hernandez, executive Jonathan Peter Williams and rapper/former pro basketball player Nolfris “Slim KuttaR” Williams. See the full list of confirmed speakers below:

  • Clara Barbera, Director for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion at the Valencia campus, Berklee (Spain)
  • Austin Barrow, President , MAD/Murphy Arts District, (Arkansas, USA)
  • Ben Berthelot, President & CEO, Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (Louisiana, USA)
  • Anya Burgess, Owner, SOLA Violins & Band member of “Magnolia Sisters” and “Bonsoir, Catin” (Louisiana, USA)
  • Sung Cho, Founder & CEO, Chartmetric.io (California, USA)
  • Cary Clarke, CEO, Young Audiences (Oregon, USA)
  • Greg Deshields, Executive Director, PHL Diversity Philadelphia Visitors & Convention Bureau (Philadelphia, USA)
  • David Dudley, Executive Editor, CityLab (New York, USA)
  • Kate Durio, Assistant to Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, Lafayette Consolidated Government (Louisiana, USA)
  • Abed Hathot, Co-Founder, Palestine Music Expo (California, Palestine)
  • Mike Henry, CEO, Paragon Media Strategies (Colorado, USA)
  • Tara Hernandez, President, JCH Properties+ (Louisiana, USA)
  • Carmen Gloria Larenas, Artistic Director, Teatro del Lago (Chile)
  • Jordan Lee, Program Director, Radio Milwaukee (Wisconsin, USA)
  • Margaret Lioi, CEO, Chamber Music America (New York)
  • Aneesha Marwah, Manager, Consulting & Strategic Partnerships, Artspace (Minnesota, USA)
  • Matt McArthur, Executive Director, The Record Co Boston (Massachusetts, USA)
  • Joel Robideaux, Mayor-President, Lafayette (Louisiana, USA)
  • Warwick Sabin, Senior Director for U.S. Programs, Winrock International, Arkansas House of
  • Representatives, 2018 Little Rock mayoral candidate (Arkansas, USA)
  • Tim Scott, Artist in Residence, Charlotte Center City Partners (North Carolina, USA)
  • Laura Simpson, Co-founder & CEO, Side Door (Canada)
  • Joey Stuckey, Official Music Ambassador, Macon, Georgia (Georgia, USA)
  • Dr. Liana Valente, National Federation Of Music Clubs Representative To The United Nations Department Of Public Information & Classical Voice Area Coordinator, Howard University (Washington, D.C.)
  • Kelly Wells, Executive Director, KDHX (Missouri, USA)
  • Johnathan Peter Williams, Founder/CEO, Quality Of Life Services & Founder/President, Love Of People (Louisiana, USA)
  • Nolfris “Slim KuttaR” Williams, Musician, Music Executive & Former Pro Basketball Player (Louisiana, USA)
  • Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation (California, USA)

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday 11th October 2018, 9:15 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Main Convention
Thursday 11th October 2018, Evening: Very special evening event
Friday 12th October 2018, 9:15 a.m.-5:00 p.m: Main Convention
Friday 12th October 2018, 5 p.m. onwards: Festivals Acadiens et Creoles launch event
Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th October: Festival Acadiens et Creole