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Lotus festival honors tradition, diversity



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The Lotus Festival is named after Hoosier musician Quinten “Lotus” Dickey. Dickey was a folk singer, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist from Orange County, Indiana.  IDS file photo Buy Photos

The Lotus World Music and Arts Festival will include a plethora of opportunities to experience, celebrate and explore the diversity of the cultures in the world. 

The four-day long festival is organized by the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, which showcases artists and musicians from around the world. This year's festival will take place Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in downtown Bloomington.

The festival was named after a musician from Indiana: Quinten “Lotus” Dickey. Dickey was a talented folk singer, songwriter, fiddler and guitarist from Orange County, Indiana. His songs were inspired by his family and community, according to the festival's website. 

Dickey died of leukemia in 1989, according to a 2015 IDS article. Dickey was a kind, curious, talented and generous musician, and the creators of the festival wanted to capture his spirit, which is why they chose the name "Lotus."

The Lotus Festival is not only named after Dickey. It is also named after the lotus flower, which blooms in Indiana and around the world. The lotus flower expresses beauty and universality.

“I think the double resonance is very powerful — local and international, bridging Indiana with the wider world,” Lotus Executive Director Sunni Fass said in an email. “The name has always been very intentionally layered. The event is not just named after Lotus Dickey, and it's not just named after the flower — it's named in equal homage to both.”

The first festival took place in 1994, and a handful of people on the local music scene helped launch it.

“The organization is the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation," Outreach Director Loraine Martin said. "The festival is our flagship event, and it’s one of many things that we do throughout the year."

In addition to the four-day long festival, Lotus offers a year-long program called Lotus Blossoms Educational Outreach. This program is for students and the general public and offers visual arts events, exhibits, workshops, the annual Edible Lotus gala and more, according to Visit Bloomington.

From 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Grey Larson, Dillon Bustin, Janne Henshaw, Nan McEntire and Mark Feddersen will lead a workshop to show participants how to play some of Dickey’s best songs. All the instructors are people who knew the musician and songwriter, according to the festival's website.

The Lotus Festival is entering its 24th year and attracts people from all over the world.

“I think Bloomington is a very open community to local and global diversity,” Martin said. “The reason we’re here 24 years later is due in part to the widespread community support for what we do."

Tickets can be purchased online at bctboxoffice.org, by phone at (812) 323-3020 or from the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Box Office.

The all-inclusive package, which includes a ticket to the Thursday Kick-Off Concert, a weekend pass to Friday and Saturday night shows and a Lotus pin for admission to the Sunday World Spirit Concert, costs $85. 

Thursday Kick-Off Concert tickets can be purchased in advance for $18 and $23 on the day of the show. Weekend passes cost $62 if purchased in advance and $72 if purchased day of. Friday and Saturday tickets can be purchased separately and cost $36 in advance for Friday and $40 in advance for Saturday. Friday and Saturday tickets are $6 cheaper for children, students, seniors and active military members, according to the festival's website.

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