Music that spans the cultures of India and the Caribbean, food that transports you to a Central American marketplace, and art that teaches you the traditions of a continent half way across the world. All of these elements are brought together in historic New Harmony, Indiana, with the third annual Global Crossroads Culture and Music Festival.
Set for Oct. 22, the festival incorporates multiple venues in the community to showcase global cultures, focusing this year on Indian culture, as well as Afro-Caribbean, Latino, and Hispanic traditions. The theme is centered on the festival’s main act, the 10-member, multi-cultural group Funkadesi, which incorporates Bollywood, Bhangra, reggae, funk, and Afro-Caribbean styles and dance into their music.
“We made a conscious decision to look for a band that would bring different cultures together within the group,” says Connie Weinzapfel, director of University of Southern Indiana’s Historic New Harmony program. “And that’s what Funkadesi ended up being.”
“The day is a global focus celebrating international music and culture,” adds community engagement manager Erin McCracken Merris.
The festival features food and art vendors, fair trade products, a film fest featuring Bollywood movies, and dancing from local traditional Indian dance troupes. McCracken Merris says the festival teamed up with the Cultural Society of India, different local Hindu temples, and several other cultural organizations to bring this educational festival tolife.
“We all have different stories, and we’re all from different areas of the world,” she adds. “That makes up our community here in Southern Indiana. It’s actually a lot more diverse than people know and give credit to.”
Global Crossroads began three years ago as a partnership between USI’s Historic New Harmony program and Under the Beams concert series.
“As part of USI’s mission for diversity, we decided we would build on what Under the Beams has done so well with the concert series for 16 years and begin a global culture and music festival,” says Weinzapfel.
Why host the festival in New Harmony? Weinzapfel says with the history of the town, it just made sense.
“We have accounts of people visiting New Harmony from 175 years ago. New Harmony always has been a place that has attracted people for lots of different reasons,” she says. “I think that spirit still lives here.”
This year’s festival, which is free and open to the public, begins at 1 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. The event is family-friendly and includes games and activities along with the vendors and entertainment. Pop-up concerts with Funkadesi will occur throughout the day as well, leading up to the 7 p.m. concert at Murphy Auditorium. Tickets are required for the show.
For more information, call 812-682-4488 or visit usi.edu/gcfest.