Experiences

There's lots to do at Rajun Cajun! The festival is free admission and all proceeds benefit the 12,000+ local children served by Porter-Leath each year. If you're looking to have the ultimate Rajun Cajun experience, check out some of our opportunities below. Keep in mind that with the exception of the contests, these areas must be booked in advance as they always sell out due to limited quantities. 

Never been to Rajun Cajun before? Looking for something you might have missed? Watch this video that captures the essence of the event, and read more about all the fun!


SWAMP VIP TENT 

The most popular and exclusive experience at Rajun Cajun is the Swamp VIP tent. From noon until 5 pm that afternoon, attendees enjoy an unlimited crawfish buffet including other Cajun cuisine, desserts, beer, and beverages while relaxing under the shade of the big tent. Tickets are $100 each or $175 per couple. This experience always sells out. To be included on the mailing list, visit our Contact us page and send us your mailing address. To order tickets, please click here. For groups of 10+, please call 901-577-2500 x 1119.

Swamp tent attendees

GUMBO COOK-OFF

It's all about that roux! The Rajun Cajun Gumbo Cook-Off features 24 local and regional teams that compete for the coveted skillet trophy and over $1,000 in cash prizes. Teams must create truly authentic Louisiana gumbo that includes seafood cooked with various spices and vegetables and served similar to a soup/stew. With no two gumbos alike, our local celebrity judges are up the challenge to find best dish! Want to sign up your team to compete? Click here for the application.

Gumbo Cookoff winners

CRAWFISH CONTESTS 

Crawfish Eating

How fast can you eat a 3 pound bucket of crawfish? Find out in this crowd-favorite contest. The entry fee is a $20 donation to the Porter-Leath children. Sign up is limited to the first dozen contestants and is in advance. To sign up, visit the t-shirt sales tent the day of the festival.

crawfish eating contest

Crawfish bobbing

Contestants in this game try not to get in a "pinch" as they try to pull as many live crawfish out of a tub of water using only their mouths! Contestants must be 18 or older and must sign up in advance at the t-shirt sales tent. 

crawfish bobbing

Crawfish racing

Children love to compete in this game! Contestants and onlookers cheer and shout to help their live crawfish racers make across the finish line first. Walking backwards of course! To participate, go to the Beale Street Stage at 2:30 on the day of the festival.

crawfish racing

The Music

Each year, Porter-Leath's Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival is home to the best of local music, complete with top swamp soul all day long on the main stage. Set times are 1:30-2:30, 3:30-4:30, and 5:30-6:30 for all stages, with the opening act of the Riverside Drive stage performing from 11:30-12:30 to open the festivities.

Set times are subject to change. Lineup exceptions may apply due to weather, artist availablity or other unexpected events. 

Southland Park Gaming & Racing Main Stage
Marcella + Her Lovers

Born into one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish in culturally rich Louisiana, with a Dad who is an accomplished two time GRAMMY award winning artist, she grew up inspired by of some of the most influential artists in music. Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, Simien grew up onstage with her father.

It was normal for her to have Taj Mahal sing her happy birthday on her 17th or David Hidalgo be in the kitchen of her childhood home having late night gumbo with her dad, or be on tour with him when the band opened for Dave Matthews Band. At a young age she displayed natural talent for music and performance, but instead she chose her own path and expanded her artistic experience. In 2009 she moved to Memphis to attend and graduate from the prestigious Memphis College of Art where she studied drawing and art history. In no time she was back onstage, delighting audiences with a sound born from fusing elements of her Creole heritage with the angelic grind of Memphis soul.

Her visual art is as fearless and sensual as her performance and music. Musically though, she followed the lead of two of the most fearless female singers; Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. She continues their tradition of pushing the boundaries of contemporary music as strong, outspoken women who led their own groups which is still not the standard, but Simien was not intimidated by this responsibility and she remains a determined and ambitious soul singer with a strong roots music sensibility. One detects in Simien’s music subtle yet devastating touches of the Memphis and Muscle Shoals sounds infused with the fingerprint of her Creole ancestors—that now laughing, now sighing Zydeco accordion and exhortations in shouted Creole French. Throughout, Simien’s voice, an instrument fierce and galloping with dignified pleading, floats above the music’s cradled melee like a night star, fondly reminding us of a mysterious past while at once exciting us with the romance of the uncertain future.

Artistically confident, composed and courageous well beyond her 26 years, Simien has been lauded by Boo Mitchell as “one of the most soulful artist I've heard since the glory days of Memphis soul music. Her sound and stage presence is a constant reminder that soul music is still alive and well.”  

Siemens Beale St. Stage
Freeworld

FreeWorld has been an independent, regionally touring, ever-evolving Memphis-based musical ensemble since 1987, and recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2012. Drawing from influences as broad-based as Booker T. & the MG's, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and The Meters, these brothers under one multicultural groove have remained a consistently entertaining and informed voice on the Memphis music scene since the group's inception. Featuring 82-year-old jazz saxophone legend Dr. Herman Green (who has performed &/or recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Stephen Perkins and a host of others during his 68 year professional music career), FreeWorld is literally 'new school meets old school', and has been variously described as "The best of Memphis, New Orleans, & San Francisco - all rolled into one fresh & excitingly unique musical experience!" 
 

Monogram Foods Riverside Stage
David Kurtz Band

ShotGunBillys

Just across from Memphis Tennessee and that mighty Mississippi River bridge, Arkansas based trio, The ShotGunBillys are bringing a determined, down home, look you square in the eye approach to today’s music scene. The SGB's combine Memphis rock, blues & country with Arkansas delta stomp music to create their own special brand of modern southern rock n country. The ShotGunBillys offer a high energy show with a firm friendly handshake that keeps fans feeling welcome and coming back for more. With way more years experience than they are willing to admit to, the SGB's have played music from coast to coast and border to border. These years of running the road, playing show after show, has allowed the SGB's to work alongside some of rock and country's greatest artists. The ShotGunBillys pride themselves on top notch musicianship, years of show after show, and true to life lessons, to produce unique music that is purposely unrefined, hard hitting, and above all, their own!

Black Oak Arkansas

In the year 1963, some high school pals decided to get together to form a group because of their love of music. After 43 years, several dozen albums… three of which became gold, one of which became platinum, and one gold single from a song known as "Jim Dandy To The Rescue," which was told to them to record by none other than Elvis Presley himself (!), this group of friends still manages to stay together. (After talking to Elvis, Black Oak Arkansas was told the following week by their producer Tom Dowd and by their label president Ahmet Ertegun that these two industry giants were also about to ask BOA about recording that same tune! Ahmet himself only personally signed 5 groups to recording contracts in his long, long recording history… and Black Oak Arkansas had the honor of being number 5!) Many testimonials and awards have been presented to this band by everyone from Bill Graham, (who founded and ran Winterland Ballroom and both the Fillmore East and West), to Wolfman Jack from the Midnight Special; from First Lady Betty Ford to President Bill Clinton! With an original homespun musical flavor, Black Oak Arkansas has been presenting their music and their life to the worlds’ public now for almost half of a century, and with a still active touring and recording schedule… there is presently no end in sight! 

Every Mother's Nightmare

Writing, recording and touring…it’s a way of life for EMN. They follow their artistic drive, creating the sound that emerges from their souls, even if this sound over the years sometimes didn’t match what was hip at the moment. The foundation of rock and roll is rebellion after all…EMN perhaps are rebels in the very core sense because they believed in hard rock through times when hard rock just wasn’t the thing to do.