Crawfest still shines in hybrid format

Abe Messing , Contributing Reporter

poster with rocket and crawfish with words crawfest 2021 and then list of bands

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Tulane’s beloved Crawfest made its comeback on Saturday, April 17, after being canceled last spring in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, expectations were high for Crawfest 2021 to avenge 2020, but it more than delivered despite the heavy rain and long line stretching from the Dining Pavilion to the very edge of the Berger Family Lawn and beyond. Students were mainly just happy to put on their complimentary Crawfest 2021 bibs and finish off their share of the 20,000 pounds of crawfish attending the event posthumously. 

After making it inside the new dining pavilion, students could find free and unlimited boiled Cajun crawfish, steamed potatoes and corn on the cob being served up by the shovelful at an unmissable stand kitty-corner from the jumbotron featuring the event’s bands. For the first time, Crawfest’s musical line up took the form of a telethon complete with performances from headliner Galactic and featured acts Honey Island Swamp Band and Water Seed, among others. Students could even attend the musical festivities on their laptop, and the full broadcast is available online. Although a break from the live music tradition of Crawfests past, the virtual stage allowed for more in-depth interviews with some of the artists as well as a more egalitarian concert-going experience for everyone. 

At random intervals you could hear inspired bellows of admiration for Crawfest coming from the crowd. “Crawfest Rules!” one anonymous patron said, unprompted and to no one in particular. Tulane sophomores Elza Black and Grace Bregenzer had similarly emphatic things to say when asked how they were enjoying Crawfest. “The food is so good! I’ve never been to a Crawfest before,” Black said. “It’s so much fun to see everyone just super messy and eating food by the pound,” Bregenzer said. Both agreed the 45-minute wait they logged outside the tent was well worth their while. 

Tulane sophomores Justin Markowitz and Micahel Bellino were glad they made it too. “We didn’t get to experience everything last year because of COVID, so this is our first Crawfest and it’s awesome! I like the music — it’s a great addition. This is the first time I’ve actually heard a New Orleans band in a long time,” Markowitz said. “This is the first time I’ve tried Crawfish too,” Bellino said. With the music playing in the background, intermittent updates on how much money is being raised, endless crawfish and the excited, indistinct chatter reverberating throughout the makeshift room, the whole tent’s innately cafeteria-like feel was successfully transformed into a bona fide Crawfest regardless of the circumstances.