Springtime in New Orleans, characteristic of sunny days, live music, and the lingering smell from local crawfish boils. It’s officially crawfish season here in the Crescent City and Crawfest is back after two years of complications and cancellations from the Covid-19 pandemic. Crawfest is an event that ties the Tulane community closer to the city of New Orleans by opening our campus to thousands of visitors ready to eat and enjoy live music. As we approach the 15th annual Crawfest here at Tulane, I called into question how Crawfest came to be the largely celebrated festival that it has grown to be today. I sat down with Sydney Oppenheim, Crawfest’s Director of Marketing, to find out more about this year’s celebration and the festival’s origins.
Crawfest started back in 2007, when students decided to begin the tradition of Crawfest on campus because they wanted to start a celebration in the springtime that mirrored homecoming in the fall. Crawfest has since become an iconic Tulane tradition that has experienced tremendous growth since its founding. This year, over 20,000 pounds of Crawfish are being brought in for the festival. Crawfest is one of the largest student-run festivals in the country.
The team of 27 students running Crawfest is split into four departments: marketing, finance, site operations, and production. They love to say that they are a “festival by students, for students!” The Crawfest board this year is comprised of a majority (60%) of seniors. They are passionate about leaving the legacy of Crawfest as the best student run festival for the next generations of Tulane students. They hope to “go out with a bang.” Oppenheim explained that “every member of the team has put all of their heart and soul into the festival.” We are excited to see all their hard work pay off!
Crawfest is a great way to blur the lines between Tulane and the city of New Orleans. People criticize Tulane for staying within a bubble but Crawfest gives students the opportunity to participate in New Orleans culture and open our beautiful uptown campus for the public to enjoy. The organizers of Crafest have also included the introduction of Carl – the official mascot of Crawfest. You may have seen him walking around McAlister or featured on Tulane’s social media postings. Carl brings an additional element of community as he has been promoting Crawfest around the city of New Orleans.
This year’s crawfest is especially exciting because it is back after a two year hiatus. Crawfest was most certainly missed on campus. An achievement that the team is extremely proud of was when they sold out of merchandise at the hybrid festival last year. This year, tickets are officially sold out so this year’s celebration will be packed. The city has begun to re-embrace its traditions over the past months and Crawfest is no different. In addition to bringing this celebration back to campus, this year’s festival will also be celebrated by the class of 2020. Since their graduation was canceled due to the Covid-19 virus, Crawfest organizers and the University have decided to use the event as a reunion weekend for the graduating class of 2020. What a great way for those recent graduates to celebrate their graduation and get a proper send off from NOLA.
The music lineup this year is notable; featuring local acts such as: Dumpstaphunk, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners, The Soul Rebels, Water Seed, Hans Williams, Dar Macar, and Sasha Salk. Oppenheim explained that the festival’s New Orleans heavy lineup allows for Tulane to better connect with the New Orleans community and music scene.
This year’s Crawfest has significance for all classes at Tulane. Freshman and Sophomores will get to participate in their first Crawfest. For Juniors and Seniors, the festival signifies a return to a beloved Tulane tradition. For the entire student body and city of New Orleans, this is sure to be a Crawfest to remember.
Featured Image Via Tulane University.
Jordan is The Crescent’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief. She is a Junior majoring in Art History, Communications, and English. When Jordan is not studying in Rue de la Course, she spends her free time thrifting, reading, and spending time outdoors in Audubon Park. She loves to explore all of the beautiful things that the city of New Orleans has to offer.