Salem World Beat Festival 2018 Photos, a video, and commentary

I enjoyed my annual Saturday visit to the Salem World Beat Festival at Riverfront Park. Every year the festival gets better. Here's photos of what caught my eye, which included a purchase of a way-cool bonsai piece of art featuring a clearly stoned Taoist dude. I'm also sharing a video of energetic African dancers and drummers.

In fact, I'll start off with the video. I'm pretty sure this was the 3 pm group listed on the festival web site. Quote: "Nii Ardey Allotey, a native of Ghana, began studying traditional dance and drumming at the tender age of 3. He has performed all over the world, from Russia to Japan. His group Ekome has performed at World Beat many times, most recently in 2015. Get ready to dance!"

Now, on to the photos.

Shopping is plentiful at the World Beat Festival. Also, colorful.

I wanted this four-legged piƱata. But my car was on the third floor of a parking garage, and anyway, I don't think it would have fit into my VW GTI.

These girls doing a Polynesian dance were nicely in step. Left foot raised, everyone!

I like to think of this as a portal to another world. Though the two times I tried to project myself into the astral plane, I ended up in another part of the World Beat Festival. Or so it seemed...

It really was a perfect June day, low 80s and sunny. But many people watching acts on the main stage were prepared to stay in the shade.

This group was really prepared for shade.

This photo is of the Ekome drummers and dancers shown in the video above.

Not far from the energy of the main stage, a woman found a peaceful place by the Willamette River slough.

Later on, and downstream a bit, Dragon Boat racers were getting ready to head to the starting line.

Shortly after they paddled backwards away from the dock, a bunch of ducks swam into their spot as if to say, "This is our favorite place; thanks for moving."

Not far from the finish line, the paddlers in purple (#3 boat) were ahead by a long dragon nose.

But at the finish line, it looked like the final result was indeed 1, 2, 3.

This weird armless doll sitting on a suitcase was some sort of talisman for a Dragon Boat team. One of the paddlers had just hung a medal around her neck, so I guess the talisman worked.

I'd never hung around a Dragon Boat event before. Each team had its own gathering/waiting area. From what I saw and heard, Dragon Boat racing is appealingly quirky. I got the impression that the paddlers are avid about their sport, and want to win, but they don't take things all that seriously. Getting out on the water and having a good time seemed to be Job #1.

There was a pretty long line at the Greek food booth near the main stage.

But the falafel I got was well worth the wait. I really appreciated the numerous napkins that came with it, because this falafel was both really tasty and really messy (at least the way I ate it).

"Kathmandu to you." Great name for a booth.

I was instantly smitten with this bonsai booth. I went back to it when I was ready to leave the festival, since I didn't want to carry around my chosen piece of bonsai art for any longer than a walk to my car.

I chose this as my first-ever bonsai purchase. I can only hope that I don't kill it, like I do most house plants that are left in my care. (Probably I should let my wife water it.) I liked how the little Taoist figure was nestled under the vegetation and the rocks.

I also liked how the (eyeless) guy is smoking a pipe. Naturally I envision that it isn't full of tobacco, but rather cannabis. That's the preferred herb of tiny Taoist sages who live under bonsai plants in Oregon, for sure.

Nearby, a Japanese woman was drawing people's names in her language. I liked the wild spontaneous art behind her. Very Zen.

Irish dancers are fun to watch.

As were Native American dancers, and some children who shared in the dancing.


The juxtaposition of traditional and modern housing being constructed on the other side of Front Street caught my eye. At least, the new building looked like it was residential.

Colorful and cute.

Here's another photo of the girls.

Created By
Brian Hines

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