Have you heard of the Webeonfest? It is new to me and sounds very exciting so Ujima is so pleased to share this with you. I really enjoyed speaking with Jakes Srinivasan who is the coordinator and founder of this great musical event.
Jakes: It stared with a blog site called Worldbeatonline. I would post about all types of music from around the world. I did this for three years. It got a lot of interest. It then morphed into the Wobeonfest. Before I would post about artist playing different venues and I kept track of the global music here in Austin. All of the information was posted to our calendar on the site. I found there was a international show some where everyday of the week. The wordlbeatonline site became a global site. I followed 2000 venues throughout the world, and 1300 music profiles. Again, I posted this information to our site. Because of all the interest, with the help of others we began presenting a Wobeon festival every month at different bars around Austin. We showcased local artist as well as artist from South Africa, Ethiopia, and more. It has grown each year. It went from three to four people to over 400 people attending the festival.
Ujima: What are some of festival highlights this year?
Jakes: Last year was the first time we did two full days in April. There were 14 artist from all over the world. We moved to the fall to not be close to SXSW and decided to make it a international day of peace. We want the synergy and diversity of people coming together for more than just music. This festival will celebrate peace and diversity. Some of the festival highlights will be Dende, Brazilian music, Morrocco Hoba Spirit, Taj Weekes and many more. All of the artist and bios can be found on the website.
We worked the broader community and partnered with a non-profit to work and build the festival. The non-profit will benefit from some of the revenues. Festival goers can also find food trucks, local and international food, vendors, and exhibitors.
Ujima: For someone who has never attended the festival, what can they expect?
Jakes: They can expect the “best music the world has to offer.” There will be music you have never heard of or have preconceived notions about. You will enjoy the amazing nature of the music. Powerful and meaningful music. The atmosphere will be the community coming together and appreciating the value of diversity and the need for diversity. Your mind will be opened to new possibilities, excellent international food and drink.
The festival is family friendly, it is people coming together through music and being apart of the birth of something that is growing.
Ujima: Tell me about your community initiative with the Amala Foundation? Who are they?
Jakes: The Amala Foundation is an Austin based peace and youth initiative organization. They have a global youth peace summit bringing youth together in Austin and the West Coast for a week long camp. The youth meditate, sing songs, and it gives them a voice, confidence, and life encouragement. Peace begins in our own backyard. They learn about being open to diversity, open to listening to other people.
The Amala Foundation reached out to me. Our donation from the festival will help fund summer camps for children. The camps are not music specific, music is used to bring the people together.
Ujima: This sounds so exciting. Where will the festival be held and when will it take place?
Jakes: The event will take place on September 20th at the Ironwood Hall downtown at 505 East 7th Street.
Ujima: Where can people get more information?
Jakes: They can go to Webeonfest.com. If someone wants to volunteer they can get in for free. Tickets, lineup, profiles of artist are all on the site.
Follow us on Facebook @Facebook/Webeonfest
Twitter @ webeonfest