by SOPHIE BIRD
Lotus World Music & Arts Festival is back in Bloomington September 26 to 29 with fan favorites Movits! and Väsen. Other returning acts include Finnish quartet Kardemimmit, hurdy-gurdy player Guilhem Desq, and Canadian folk group Le Vent du Nord. Several new performers will also be on hand, including KOKOKO! from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigerian duo Les Filles de Illighadad.
In all, more than 20 acts will perform at six venues throughout the downtown area.
Tamara Loewenthal, who took over the executive directorship this spring after 20 years of involvement with the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, says she’s particularly excited for mariachi band Cielito Lindo and the Steve Riley Trio, a Cajun group.
“Certain bands play music that has a culturally attached dance form,” Loewenthal says. “Having more of that is something I would like to see. We have ideas for the future.”
Loewenthal, who has a background as a traveling dance performer, began volunteering at the festival in its second year and has served as its volunteer coordinator since 2007.
“I’ve kind of worked with every committee and essentially done every job, so my training is on the ground,” she says.
In addition to the ticketed concerts, the Arts Village (at the corner of 6th Street and North Walnut) and Lotus in the Park (at Third Street Park) will offer free options for festival-goers of all ages.
“We really try to provide all sorts of ways the community can take part in Lotus, whether that’s through free events or ticketed events,” says Loraine Martin, outreach director.
Arts Village exhibits will include a project entitled “A Light in the Dark,” which will give attendees the opportunity to create their own luminaria lanterns.
Also, for the first time this year, Lotus in the Park will feature an African dance presentation by the Indiana University African American Dance Company and an opening musical performance from Monroe County Community School Corporation music teachers and students.
For tickets, a full festival schedule, and volunteer opportunities, visit lotusfest.org.