Ashland World Music Festival 2019 – Building Community And Cultural Awareness In The Rogue Valley
Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Do you want to celebrate our community and the world in a family-friendly environment full of music, dance, food, and fun from cultures near and far? The Ashland World Music Festival (AWMF) is taking place this weekend (May 16-19 2019) in beautiful Lithia Park, downtown Ashland.
This annual Spring festival is produced by Rogue World Music and Ashland Parks and Rec with support from generous local sponsors. Each year, the AWMF strives to create positive change in our community by partnering with a local nonprofit organization.
This year, they have partnered with ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, a nexus for inspiring creativity and innovation in Southern Oregon. ScienceWorks’ mission is to be a “champion of science – inspiring curiosity, wonder, and exploration through engaging and interactive experiences”. Inside and outside the museum, children (and adults) can experience fun hands-on exhibits designed to teach them about science, technology, engineering, and other fascinating topics about how our world works. ScienceWorks will be showcasing its hands-on approach to learning in partnership with the Ashland World Music Festival this weekend. They will be providing fun science-themed activities for kiddos and adults alike and are one of the festival’s main venues.
All AWMF photos courtesy of Bob Palermini
What Is The Ashland World Music Festival All About?
I spoke with the Executive Director of Rogue World Music, Val Rogers, to find out more about the Ashland World Music Festival and their mission of building community and cultural awareness in the Rogue Valley.
What is the mission of the Ashland World Music Festival?
“To create a cultural connection through the celebration and experience of world music, inviting people of all backgrounds to build community. We envision the festival as a celebration of life, music, cultural diversity, and our community, where people can express themselves and connect with each other through global music traditions.”
Having grown up in Ashland, I have seen first-hand the impact an event like this can have. Ashland loves to celebrate culture. And, when you bring members of the community together, it is inspiring to see (and feel) the energy it creates and how this can translate into positive change in our world. AWMF does just that. The festival brings together a unique blend of people who are excited to express themselves while simultaneously enjoying and learning about music from around the world.
I went on to ask Val what the evolution of AWMF been like since it began and how local sponsors have helped to make it what it is today:
“The AWMF was launched by Ashland Parks & Recreation in 2016 as an afternoon of free concerts by local bands in Lithia Park. Over the past 3 years, Rogue World Music helped expand it into a multi-day, multi-venue festival featuring local, regional, and national world music artists. We’ve also diversified the festival, adding storytelling, master classes at SOU, international electronic dance music, intercultural participatory percussion, and family-focused workshops to the free concert series. The generous contributions of our business sponsors make it possible to present this festival for free, so it’s accessible to the entire community. We had 8 sponsors last year, and have 18 this year! The business community is really doing their part to help create shared positive experiences that bring people together.”
Val and the AWMF team have been working hard these last few months to bring this event to life. After all of the hard work that goes into putting on an event like this, I wanted to know what she is most looking forward to about the festival:
“I’m looking forward to being surrounded by thousands of smiling faces and dancing bodies; to being inspired by cultural artistry and moved by personal stories; to discovering new forms of artistic expression, and to connect with people I don’t even know yet!”
Val’s team has big plans for creating cultural connection and building communities here in Southern Oregon. And, as someone who grew up here, it was inspiring to hear about her goals for the future and how members of the community can get involved:
“We want the AWMF to broaden our world music horizons while at the same time showcasing and supporting the diverse cultural arts that are enriching the Rogue Valley. Our festival Steering Committee is looking for cultural liaisons who can connect us to artists, crafters, chefs, etc within their communities. We invite folks who would like to learn more about getting involved to stop by our booth at any festival event and to attend our first Listening Session on Saturday, May 18th, 7:30 pm, in the back room at Liquid Assets, downtown Ashland.”
All AWMF photos courtesy of Bob Palermini
Ashland World Music Festival Event Details:
Thursday, May 16th
Heart Beat Stories
When: 7 to 9 pm.
Where: Rogue Valley Universalist Fellowship. 87 4th St. Ashland, OR.
Cost: $10 suggested donation.
Join in to listen to stories of “Home” from cultures throughout the world. This series will be MC’d by Edward Derr and the storytellers include Karim Nagi • Sophia Blanton • Laz Ayala (of KDA Homes)• Mmmingpa & The Liberation Poet Circle • Lito Ozaeta.
Artists: Propolis • Karim Nagi
Friday, May 17th
Arab Rhythm Ensemble
When: 1:30 to 3 pm.
Where: Southern Oregon University Music Building. S. Mountain Ave. Ashland, OR.
Open to any SOU student. Open to all to watch. Free.
All drummers are welcome. Students may bring any type of Arabic or World percussion drum, as long as the instrument can make at least 2 different sounds. Mr. Nagi will teach several famous Arab rhythms. These rhythms will come from various regions of the Arab world, including Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. The students will later link the rhythms into a composition, that can be performed. This class will not only teach rhythm and style, but also how the drummers can function in a group, and create percussive songs together.
Artist: Karim Nagi
Turn It Up! Dance
When: 8 to 11 pm.
Where: ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum. 1500 E. Main St. Ashland, OR.
Cost: Free. 21+ event.
Get ready to shake yourself up and let global house music move you this 21+ event! Artist: Leo Anifowose
Need a break from dancing? Take some time to explore the new Wild Music exhibit. Created for ALL ages, this exhibit expands your understanding of what makes music and explores the organic origins of musical expression the world over.
Saturday, May 18th
The Parks Performance
When: 12 to 6 pm.
Where: Litha Park Butler Bandshell. Winburn Way. Ashland, OR.
7 amazing acts, spanning a wide variety of global music traditions, engaging activities, delicious world food, and more! Fabulous fun for the whole family in beautiful Lithia Park.
- 12:00 p.m. Ho’opa’a Hawai’i Club: Haka, Hula, and Tahitian dance
- 12:45 p.m. Karim Nagi: Music from cultures throughout the Arab World
- 1:45 p.m. Sakumuna: A fusion of traditional and modern African musical traditions
- 2:45 p.m. Maraval Road: Contemporary and traditional music from the Caribbean Islands
- 3:30 p.m. Grupo Ritual Azteca Huitzilopochtli: Relive the ancient practices of the indigenous peoples of Anáhuac
- 4:30 p.m. Fyah Harp: Jamaican reggae artist
- 5:15 p.m. Son de Cuba: Salsa, timba, son, merengue, cumbia, bachata, Latin jazz, etc
Pulse Session: Intercultural percussion of all types
When: 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
Where: Thalden Pavilion. Walker Ave. Ashland, OR.
Percussion is a music tradition that all cultures share. Clap your hands, shake your rattle, beat your drum, beatbox, or just be present in a drum jam led by AWMF performer Karim Nagi.
Sunday, May 19th
Making Beats Workshop
When: 12 to 3 pm.
Where: ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum. 1500 E Main St. Ashland, OR.
Cost: Included in museum admission.
Learn how to make your own electronic music and beats with Leo Anifowose in the DaVinci’s Garage Maker Space at ScienceWorks. Open to the whole family.
All AWMF photos courtesy of Bob Palermini
Join the party and get your worldly groove on with our community at the Ashland World Music Festival! For more details and updates visit the Ashland World Music Festival Facebook Page and Facebook event page.
KDA Homes is proud to be an annual sponsor of the Ashland World Music Festival and to help in building communities and cultural awareness in the Rogue Valley.