History of Crawfest

Brandi Doyal, Staff Reporter

Tulane University is prepping to host its eighth annual Crawfest festival this weekend. Crawfest is a student-run music and arts festival that occurs every spring and features thousands of pounds of crawfish, food from more than 20 local establishments, a wide variety of arts and crafts vendors and live music entertainment.

The event typically brings in over 12,000 attendees including Tulane students, staff, administration, alumni, New Orleans residents and tourists.

A group of students who wanted to create a campus tradition similar to homecoming started the festival in 2007. The Associated Student Body and the Residential Hall Association both wanted to create an event in the spring for students. Public relations chair and former Hullabaloo Arcade Layout Editor Halle Kaplan-Allen said both organizations worked together by combining their ideas to create Crawfest.

“The Associated Student Body wanted to create a campus tradition in the spring that was similar to Homecoming in the fall and thought a campus-wide crawfish boil would be a good idea,” Kaplan-Allen said. “[The Residence Hall Association] wanted to have a large campus-wide event that was like a music festival. The two groups combined their ideas to create Crawfest.”

In 2008, the second annual Crawfest festival, there were only an estimated 15,000 pounds of boiled crawfish served. The event originally occurred on only the Lavin-Bernick Center Quad, but the festival has since expanded to include the Newcomb quad. 

This year’s Crawfest expects to serve More than 20,000 pounds of boiled crawfish and will include a vegetable boil of more than 5,000 pounds of boiled vegetables. The second Crawfest featured eight bands spread across two stages, and this year the same music set-up will be featured.

The festival has grown far beyond just the Residential Hall Association and the Associated Student Body. This year more than 13 organizations are involved in Crawfest

including the Tulane Green Club and Tulane Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Kaplan-Allen said she believes the board worked really hard to make the student body and all the attendees happy with Crawfest this year.

“I have loved being on the Crawfest board because I know I am working on something that really matters to Tulane students as well as New Orleanians,” Kaplan-Allen said. “I am so impressed by every member of the board who has worked incredibly hard to make this such an amazing event. Our ultimate goal is to give attendees the best experience possible, and I am so excited to see that happen on Saturday.”

The festival has grown since 2007, but Kaplan-Allen said she felt like Crawfest has always brought the true culture of New Orleans closer to campus. She said the festival brings the local community to Tulane’s campus and helps immerse students in the rich culture of New Orleans.

“I think that Crawfest is an incredible way to connect Tulane students with the local community,” Kaplan-Allen said. “The festival is a great way to bring the best parts of New Orleans culture to campus – great music, food, and art. Crawfest breaks down the ‘Tulane bubble’ that often separates students from the incredible city that they live in. We are incredibly proud that Crawfest is the largest student run music festival in the country.” 

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