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Here’s what to expect from Bloomington's first virtual Lotus Festival this weekend



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Stafford Berry, African American Dance Company director, dances with someone from the audience Sept. 28, 2019, at the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in Bloomington. The annual Lotus Festival will take place virtually this weekend, with the exception of one live, socially distanced concert at 1 p.m. Saturday at Switchyard Park.  Sam House

The annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival will return to Bloomington this weekend. The event will take place virtually, with the exception of one live, socially distanced concert at 1 p.m. Saturday at Switchyard Park. 

This year’s festival will include livestreams of local artists’ performances at 7 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Sunday from the Lotus Firebay, a private performance space inside the Lotus facilities at 105 S. Rogers St. A concert live stream will screen for free at 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Dunn Meadow. 

Pre-recorded performances by new artists from around the world and archived performances from previous festivals will be broadcasted from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the Lotus Facebook and YouTube pages for free. 

A free virtual yoga session is available at 10 a.m. Sunday. Participants must RSVP on the Lotus website.

Executive Director Tamara Loewenthal said one of Lotus’ goals is to present programming across the economic spectrum, which has become especially important due to financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now, more so than ever, we have to make this easy access,” Loewenthal said. “It’s part of our commitment to making sure we are not an exclusive event, that we are accessible.”

Festival pins are available for $25 on the Lotus website. A pin allows for virtual access into the live streamed concerts on both Thursday and Sunday. 

Lotus is taking safety precautions for their outdoor performance by asking attendees to wear masks and socially distance. Seating will be made up of 6-foot diameter pods for up to three guests for $30 and 9-foot diameter pods for up to six guests for $60. Pods will be spaced at least 6 feet from one another. 

This year’s new artists from around the world will include Ak Dan Gwang Chil from South Korea, Fanfara Station from Italy and Tunisia, The Friel Sisters from Ireland and Scotland, Ley Line from the U.S., Nation Beat from Brazil and the U.S., Nohe & Sus Santos from Honduras, Mexico and the U.S. and Tuuletar from Finland.

The festival is the only world music festival in Indiana, attracting approximately 12,000 people each year, according to the Lotus website

Kathleen Clark-Perez, communications and marketing director, said the organization hosted two live events in the spring, but this is the largest scale event they’ve hosted virtually.

“We have been honing our skills to put on virtual events since the spring,” Clark-Perez said.  “I’m really excited to see it happen, and see all the hard work our staff has put into learning new skills to do events online.”

The schedule of events and ticket links can be found here.

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