From 2018: An exhibit of Vonnegut’s works; merchandise from the Vonnegut Library and Museum in Indianapolis. Courtesy photos


From 2018: An exhibit of Vonnegut’s works; merchandise from the Vonnegut Library and Museum in Indianapolis. Courtesy photos


Granfalloon, a convergence of independent music, theater, out-of-the box creative local events, and literary scholarship—all inspired by Indiana author and luminary Kurt Vonnegut—is returning. The second annual event will be held at venues across the city May 9–11.

According to Ed Comentale, professor of English and director of the Indiana University Arts and Humanities Council, the festival is designed to bring the campus and local arts community together, and to draw people to Bloomington. Comentale says the idea came about as the council looked to develop an event that would have broad, national appeal. 

“We felt like we needed a hero, a muse, and we’re all huge fans of Vonnegut,” says Comentale. “He represents Indiana well.” Last year, the festival drew national attention from alternative music magazines Spin and Pitchfork, along with an audience that came from as far away as Ireland. 

Vonnegut coined the term “Granfalloon” in his novel Cat’s Cradle, defining it as “a group of people brought together for seemingly arbitrary reasons, but whose sense of belonging and community is nevertheless very real.” Raised in Indianapolis, one of Vonnegut’s deepest connections to Bloomington is the Lilly Library’s substantial

collection of his manuscripts, correspondence, and other memorabilia.

Local events will occur in the weeks leading up to Granfalloon, including a read-a-thon of Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions at local coffeehouses, and a writing workshop for high school students at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington. The weekend of the festival, Cardinal Stage will present Vonnegut on Stage: War, Technology, and Unintended Consequences at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center; The Science of Vonnegut, an after dark event, will be held at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology; chamber choir Voces Novae will perform Vonnegut’s “Requiem” at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington; and Vonnegut-inspired music will take place at The Bluebird, The Bishop, and the Blockhouse Bar. 

Among national figures featured this year is author Dave Eggers, who will give a talk at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Singer-songwriter Neko Case, punk band Parquet Courts, and soul band Durand Jones & The Indications will perform at Upland’s Bloomington Brewpub as the festival’s finale. 

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