A scene from last year's Edible Lotus at Deer Park Manor. Photograph provided by Garrett J Poortinga, Green Hat Media LLC 2014

A scene from last year’s Edible Lotus at Deer Park Manor. Photograph provided by Garrett J Poortinga, Green Hat Media LLC 2014


By now, it may be easy to take the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival for granted. For 22 years, world musicians have come to downtown Bloomington venues, drawing audiences from all walks of life for one big celebration. Last year 12,000 people turned out for the four-day autumn festival.

Preceding the festival for the past 16 years is Edible Lotus, an annual benefit event. Edible Lotus raised $14,000 last year for festival necessities such as tents and lighting, plus Lotus Blossoms’ educational outreach, which brings international artists into south-central Indiana schools. Since 2001, Lotus Blossoms has reached an audience of nearly 110,000 young people.

So what can you expect from this year’s Edible Lotus event, which takes place 6–9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9 at Deer Park Manor? Silent and live auctions, a performance by a world musician, lots of food, and for the first time in its history, the announcement of the Lotus Festival lineup of performers.

A $100 ticket ($70 of which is tax deductible) gets you into Deer Park Manor for an evening that begins with the silent auction and reception. Then everyone moves outdoors to a tent on the lawn for the performance, live auction, and sit-down buffet, featuring cuisine from 20 downtown restaurants, including Nick’s English Hut, Restaurant Tallent, and Samira Restaurant. Beer flows courtesy of Bloomington Brewing Co.

“It’ll be kind of a summer feast,” says Kristin Varella, development director of Lotus Education & Arts Foundation. “It will be an active and participatory evening of eating, drinking, and celebrating music.”

This year’s Lotus Festival is September 24–27 with artists performing in massive tents, churches, and other venues downtown.

“What so many attendees enjoy is this idea that you’re able to hear and experience about 25 different performing groups that are super diverse, from all different countries, over the course of a weekend,” says Varella. “Lotus Festival takes over the Bloomington streets and provides access to people throughout southern Indiana who don’t typically have opportunities to experience world music.” Ticket information for Edible Lotus will be posted at lotusfest.org when it becomes available, or you can email Varella at kristin@lotusfest.org.