Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cajun Zydeco Festival - Seminole Hardrock

Many years ago I went to the Cajun Zydeco Festival in a stadium and it was packed. They cooked crawfish one ton at a time and the dance floor had so little free space and so much consumed hot sauce, it was probably a fire hazard. I had such a great time I wanted to go back but for some reason, I either missed it or it no longer existed.

This year, after too long an absence, the Cajun Fest was held at the Seminole Hardrock Hotel and Casino. I had to give it a try and see if it was anything like I remembered.

The price to get in was $20.00 and the entire event barely filled my camera lens from the parking garage. Seemed like a pretty steep price for not much to see but I was there for the day so I rolled the dice and gave it a shot.

Even though this was a minuscule effort compared to what I remembered, I gave it some thought and realized what I enjoyed the most was the food and the music. After plunking down a few more bucks for a crab cake and crawfish etouffee I was right in the spirit to enjoy the first band.

Cajun music is clearly not for everyone but for those that love it, no other music exists. There were the casual listeners like me and the hard core fans with their own washboards strumming along with the bands. I was provided with a wristband to get in and out and I was at the Hardrock so I left for a bit to look around and throw away a few bucks in the slots. Yes - my attempt to win back my admission price was going well and would have been a success if I had only cashed out.

Right outside the casino was another band that was mesmerizing. I was shaken from my trance of enjoyment by thunderous applause from the handful of people gathered around to listen. I'm sure the band was much more accustomed to playing on the back porch with the sun setting and the only applause, the sound of crickets. I would have very much enjoyed listening on that back porch but it certainly was amazing to see the unexpected enthusiasm from the casino crowd.

In case you are wondering why I posted a fan shot - look close - That's Dennis Rodman. Retired basketball player and full time celebrity. As far as the crowd was concerned, The Magnolia Sisters were on the stage and they were the show. I was impressed enough to buy their CD even though I don't know a word of French. I'm sure I will listen to it through out the year and get ready for what will no doubt  be a bigger and better event next year.


  1. I did not know ya'll did Cajun food in Florida too! Thanks for having me crave some now. Sounds like a fun festival, and random. What is Dennis Rodman doing there??? :)

  2. @ Tex - Hoo yahhh!!! Got me some spicy good eats now ya'll and some of that fine fiddle sawing.

    The Hardrock is the same gigantic casino that Anne Nicole Smith "cashed out" in a few years back. All the stars come here to party. And you thought I lived in the wilderness right? Not hardly.

  3. Whoa! I'd go just for the food!! All those things I've heard of but never tried!! Or never heard of - what the hell is 'crawfish etouffee' anyway??!!

  4. @Red - Like tiny little lobsters in a creamy hot sauce. Yum Yum.

  5. Oh, now I'm salivating ... but why not just call it lobster mornay??

  6. Sory to say, I don't think next year (this year) will be bigger or better. It may not be over until the fat lady sings, but when Chubby said it was over in '04 or '05, sadly, he was right. There was an attempt after it left Lockhart to revive it at Quiet Waters, but it was just a pathetic shell of it's former glory. I would correct you for thinking that the best the performers could hope for was applause on the front porch since the biggest names in Cajun/Zydeco always turned out in force, but the sad looking performers and "festival" goers in your photos showed you're probably right. Sad, as this was the best three nights and two days of the year. I used to live there every Mother's day weekend.