About Festival Bonfouca
Festival Bonfouca takes its name from the historic Bayou Bonfouca, which intersects Lake Pontchartrain on the Northshore.
Bayou – a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), or to a marshy lake or wetland.
Bonfouca – an Indian word meaning rich landing or site of abundant resources and referred to the mouth of the river at Lake Pontchartrain.
Festival Bonfouca is Slidell’s first three-day community arts and music festival located on the beautiful banks of Bayou Bonfouca in Heritage Park. The inaugural festival took place March 18-20, 2016.
MotherShip Foundation seeks to establish Festival Bonfouca as an annual event that provides economic opportunities for all stakeholders including artists, musicians, vendors, and nonprofit partners.
Help us promote Bayou Bonfouca and Heritage Park as a year-round destination for local and out of town visitors alike.
Programming includes diverse Musical Entertainment, an Art Market, a Family Village, Favorite Local Restaurants and Caterers, and Recreational Activities for the whole family.
- MUSIC: Festival Bonfouca features music from all genres including Jazz, Funk, R&B, Country, Soul, Gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, World, Hip Hip, and music found only in Louisiana.
- ART: Thirty regional artists are selected by jury to display their handcrafted, original art in an open-air market.
- FAMILY: The Family Village surrounding Heritage Park’s beloved playground includes arts & crafts, hula hooping, epic bubble making, dance performances, drum circles, carnival games, and activities for the whole family.
- FOOD: Local restaurants, caterers, and food trucks serve the best in Louisiana cuisine.
- RECREATION: Enjoy hula hooping, a fishing tournament, and activities for all ages.
Our story begins in April 2014, when Lori Gomez—a Slidell native, artist, and arts advocate—realized the potential for Olde Towne’s Heritage Park to host a new music and arts festival unlike any the city had ever seen before. Lori reached out to Jared Zeller, the Founder and President of MotherShip Foundation, host of New Orleans’ Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo: a community-centered music and arts festival that’s grown from 5,000 to 35,000 people in its ten year existence. What started as one site visit with MotherShip’s logistic team, Lori Gomez, Alex Carollo (Director of Slidell’s Dept. of Public and Cultural Affairs), and Kevin Walcott (Director of Slidell’s Dept. of Recreation), quickly turned into monthly meetings, creative brainstorming, planning sessions, city-wide networking, partnerships, and one big idea: Festival Bonfouca!
By December 2014, the concept was solidified, and the group went on to meet with Freddy Drennan (Slidell’s Mayor) and John E. Smith (Director of Economic Development). The following month, the group presented the idea to the City Council, who responded with warm enthusiasm. Throughout the next six months, the group would continue to solicit citywide support through meetings with Timothy Mathison (Chief Administrative Officer) and Val Vanney (City Councilman for District D, which encompasses the festival site at Heritage Park).
To ensure that this festival would be guided by creative capital and benefit the greater community, the planning group voted to organize themselves into the Camellia City Arts Advocates (C2A2). With C2A2‘s grassroots engagement and MotherShip’s experience in developing a festival, the group was equipped with the human resources and wherewithal necessary to enable Festival Bonfouca to become everything it promised to be: a fun, family-friendly weekend of local art, music, and food; a growing engine for the cultural economy; and the highest caliber music festival that Slidell has ever seen.
MotherShip Foundation: MotherShip Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to encourage social change by improving the quality of life for Louisiana residents through the promotion of arts, culture, and recreation. MotherShip Foundation was founded in 2005 in response to the cultural aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The organization’s flagship program is the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Music and Arts Festival. Over the course of ten years, the festival has grown from a one-day, 5,000 person concert into a three-day-event attracting over 35,000 residents and visitors annually, all while remaining free to the public! Proceeds from the Bayou Boogaloo have allowed MotherShip Foundation to reinvest in the community by replanting oak trees that had been lost to hurricanes, launching an anti-litter initiative, and becoming a valued community partner to organizations throughout New Orleans that rely on the annual festival to generate exposure and raise funds for their services.
Camellia City Arts Advocates (C2A2): C2A2‘s mission is to boost the cultural economy of St. Tammany Parish and to educate artists, businesses, and charitable/nonprofit groups on ways to collaborate for the betterment of all parties. C2A2 is an independent, exclusive group of community leaders, business owners, and artists that work together throughout the year to promote, advise, and advocate for a variety of artistic endeavors and cultural groups.