“We’ve got a concert and dance going on,” Cattle Festival President Francis Plaisance said.
The venue is 2901 Rodeo Rd. in Abbeville, will open its doors Saturday at 6 p.m., with music beginning at 7 p.m. Belting out tunes will be Travis Matte and the King Pins, the Right Lane Bandits and Wesley “Wesbound” Lemaire.
“That’s the idea behind the Red Barn,” Plaisance said, “dancing, music and fun.”
It’s an idea that came to light for Plaisance while away from Abbeville.
“It’s an idea I got from Kentucky,” he said. “It’s not far outside of Louisville. There’s a red barn there, but there is no city, or town. They built a barn and they do bluegrass music every weekend. There is also a village near it, similar to Acadian Village, where you can visit and see how people lived during Kentucky’s early years.”
With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, Plaisance brought the idea of the red barn back to the Cattle Festival board.
“We got together and developed this thing,” Plaisance said. “The board has been a tremendous help. Shane Romero and Matt Suire really did a good job taking over and developing the inside. There is a cement floor, a stage and it’s painted. They made it look totally different from what it was before.
“Now we can have concerts and different events in there. If it works so well in another place I feel it can work here too.”
A handful of events have already taken place at the barn. The Cattle Festival recently held a Swamp Pop concert.
“We have also hosted the Boy Scouts,” Plaisance said. “They held their derby and boat races there. We give it to them free of charge.”
The venue is also available to rent for various functions, including birthdays and weddings.
“We actually had a country-western wedding there,” Plaisance said. “It was a beautiful wedding. They had the wagon wheels and the hay. She was dressed in country attire and so was he. It was really neat.
“It’s really exciting to see this. We want this to be something really positive.
“We want to turn it into a regular place for events.”
It will also serve another important purpose.
“We also want it to help as a fundraiser for the Cattle Festival,” Plaisance said, “to help sustain the festival. It’s gotten so expensive to put it on. We are one of the few festivals in Louisiana that is free of charge to the public. To maintain the quality of the show we put on, we need to have some other source of revenue to go with the sponsors we have.
“The barn has been developed to not only promote our culture here, but also as a fundraiser.”
Plaisance, who is also an Abbeville councilman, said the barn is a good thing on other levels.
“It’s a win for the Cattle Festival,” Plaisance said. “But I think it’s also a win for the city and our community. By putting on these events, it adds something to the community.”
Building that does take patience, something Plaisance said he understands.
“We had good attendance for the Swamp Pop show,” Plaisance said. “But that was the weekend we had the real cold spell. That kind of hurt us. I told the board that we have to be persistent when you do something like this. You can’t expect it to be successful the first time. You have to be consistent and keep bringing in the acts.
“We should have some pretty interesting acts as time goes by.”