Monday, November 8, 2010

Festival Atitlan 2011 ~ March 19, 2011

Roberto Luz Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Dear Friends:

March 19, 2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Festival Atitlán.
We have gradually been changing and improving things over the years, and have evolved into a very special and unique event. With your help we plan on making this the best one yet. It's time to start moving energies and putting together the threads that will be the Lake Atitlan International Music and Arts Festival 2011.

Although we are growing, it is very important to maintain the festival atmosphere of peace, brotherhood, positivism, and the spirit of cultural and social exchange where we can gather with people of all races to celebrate the great diversity and to share the flowers of our diverse cultures. At the same time it is necessary to continue the philosophy of using the funds generated by the event to support local projects that will improve life on Lake Atitlán. It’s proof that regular folks can unite to cooperate and achieve improvements in the future of all people. Artistic activism. The festival will always remain a nonprofit event. If the event was commercial, it just wouldn’t work.

Every year we have grown, and we had more than 1000 participants in 2010. To date, the Festival has maintained itself exclusively with the sale of tickets (a donation of Q100 for "visitors" and Q50 for "locals") and labor donated by the organizers and participants. To produce a festival of this kind field it is necessary to build a temporary village with all its services, and then make it disappear and return the forest to its natural state.

For 2011, we decided to seek economic and logistical assistance to achieve improvements to help ensure that the Festival continues to make progress. This is the help we are looking for:

1. The biggest discussion we have been having between this year organizers is about whether we should extend the festival to two days. This would allow more performers to participate, and also give us more time for the non-musical arts and the children section.

What has prevented us from having a two day event in the past is simply the lack of economic resources to pay for a second day’s rent on the sound equipment. This year there are rumors of finding money for the equipment, but a second day means doubling the infrastructure (health, security and control, accounting, etc.) It would be necessary to hire extra staff for those positions.

2. We are expecting more people in 2011, and we have been using the same composting toilets for 5 years, we need to build more.

3. As always, we need art materials for the children’s section.

4. All artists and organizers participating in the Atitlán Festival donate their art and time. The festival takes responsibility for their room and board, and traditionally we have supported them with a small incentive to pay for gasoline. We have had offers from top quality national and international musicians who only seek the money to get them here, and we had to refuse because of lack of funds. These groups include "Congreso" from Chile, "Toots and the Maytals" from Jamaica, Buffy StMarie from Canada, and "Sobrevivencia" from Guatemala. In 2011 I am trying to bring a Native American dance troupe from the United States, complete with drums, costumes, and paint… a genuine exchange cultural.

5. In the past our lack of resources limited the amount of propaganda, and I am sure that, with further support from the press and with paid newspaper ads we would attract more viewers. If you have connections with the press, please help us.

6. Our eco-project on the cyanobacteria problem, which we began in 2010, is producing ecological and cultural educational materials. We have produced and we're handing out 5000 copies of the first eco-comic, which is for adults: "Ixim Acha o Ciano Acha…Que Puedo hacer yo Para Eliminar la Cianobacteria en el Lago Atitlán", and we are in the process of finishing a tale for children: "Berta Basura", which will be published in December. We are looking for money to produce the second edition of Cianoacha…. In addition, in November the first wave of mini eco-videos (mostly on the cyanobacteria) that we have been preparing to give to the cable stations around the Lake is ready. If you have connections with any of these stations, please connect us. You can see some examples of these projects on their page on our internet site:

Apart from economic help Festival Atitlán we need lots of help in all phases of the project, from organization to trash. In 2010 there were more than 80 people who helped produce the show, and if we have a two day event we will need more. We are in the process of developing a complete jobs list. I will send it to you when it’s ready.

And finally, I want to make a call to all musicians, dancers, actors, poets, clowns and artists of all kinds to come to share your art and good energy and help Festival Atitlán 2011 to be the best event of the year.

Roberto Luz ,

Catherine S. Todd Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 4:19 PM
To: Roberto Luz
Two days would be GREAT. How much is needed for the second day's rent on the sound equipment? What we can do to help the cyanobacteria is imperative. Thank you for all you good work for the festival and the lake! Looking forward to an update, and posting this on my Lake Atitlan Directory blog.

Yours, Catherine Todd (contact and links below)

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Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.