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Photos of 2019 Salem World Beat Festival A wonderful multicultural celebration

Today, Saturday, June 29, I made my annual pilgrimage to Riverfront Park to enjoy the first day of the World Beat Festival. Here's photos and videos of what I experienced, plus some commentary.

There was a drumming circle, complete with instruction, in the African and Middle East Village. I made a video of the participants (see below). The rhythms got increasingly complicated. Being rather rhythm-impaired myself, I was duly impressed.

Parasols for a sunny day at a Japanese booth.

Arriving at about 1:30, lunchless, food was a top priority for me. My chosen booth, with tasty vegetarian Yakisoba noodles, had a long line. But the efficient people who ran the booth made my wait brief.

The amphitheater area, where the main stage is, was a perfect place to eat my noodles and watch some performances.

Riverfront Park is a gem. A few steps away from the amphitheater, calm water and greenery beckon.

Ah, some child users of parasols.

More mermaids in one place than I'd ever seen before. Maybe the Willamette River attracts them.

Mahjong. I saw the game being played with dexterity and passion in the movie "Crazy Rich Asians." These women were a bit less intense.

If I was a kid, this is the backpack I'd want. Well, I'm 70, and I still wanted one. But I carry too much crap around in my backpack to make one of these work for me. And I might get some funny looks in downtown Salem (OK, make that more than I already get).

The colors in many of the booths were delightful. Which reminds me: today I saw a boy wearing a t-shirt that said, "I went outside once. The graphics weren't that good." Sure, but the colors are vivid.

Turban-tying at a Sikh booth. I'd always wondered how it was done. Now I know. Sort of. It's an art, for sure.

Final turban-tying result. Looks great.

Dancing, Japanese variety, I believe.

I liked how an Arab booth was right next to...

An Israeli booth. See, the world can get along. Especially without politicians.

Dogs were plentiful at the World Beat Festival. Hey, this is Oregon. Dogs are everywhere.

A budding drummer.

Those are mostly child legs under the dragon. Don't worry. They weren't eaten. I saw them emerge unscathed.

Every year the World Beat Festival gets better and better. The hard work of volunteers and the support of sponsors is much appreciated. I look forward to the festival and am never disappointed.

The Yakisoba noodles seemed so healthy, I decided to balance them out with curly fries. Could only eat about half of the generous portion, though.

Polynesian music/singing, I believe.

Talented Indian dancer. I made a brief video of the end of her performance. See below.

Largest dog I saw at the festival. It struck me as great.

Given how crazy national and state politics is these days, it was ever so refreshing to experience simple joys. Like this video of a circle rainbow dance. Art and culture help keep us sane.

Just outside the festival, a splash pool was popular.

Dragon Boat races were being held on the river.

The sternwheeler dwarfed some Dragon Boats.

Native American dancing and drumming took place in a tent outside the festival, as in previous years.

In the evening, my wife and I went back to the World Beat Festival to see a performance by DJ Prashant and his dance troupe. Here's a video that combines one of the troupe's numbers and the end of their performance where Prashant coaxed many in the audience to come on the stage.

Prashant spent quite a bit of time teaching the audience some Bollywood dance moves. I did my best to follow along, with decidedly mixed results. Thanks (if that's the right word) to my wife, Laurel, for capturing part of a fun experience.

That said, if any Mumbai movie producers specializing in Bollywood films are looking to cast an old guy from Oregon who becomes an unexpected Bollywood star, get in touch. Who knows what I'm capable of if I get more than one dance lesson?

Created By
Brian Hines
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