This year’s World Music Festival, to be held on Saturday, May 4, will feature workshops and a performance by Wulaba drummers (from left) Dusty Grant, James Gann and Karen Kan.
On Saturday, May 4, music from around the globe will fill the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
If you go
What: World Music Festival
Where: Lake Placid Center for the Arts, 7 Algonquin Dr., Lake Placid
When: Saturday, May 4. Registration begins at 8:0 a.m.
Cost: This is a pay-per-workshop event. Space is limited, so register early by visiting reason2smile.org or by calling Reason 2 Smile at (518) 837-5244.
The event, the World Music Festival, will be the largest fundraiser ever held to benefit Reason 2 Smile, a non-profit organization that helps orphaned and at-risk children in developing countries.
Keela Grimmette, executive director of Reason 2 Smile, Inc., started Reason 2 Smile in 2007, shortly after volunteering for 10 weeks at Jambo Jipya school in Mtwapa, a fishing village located in Kenya, Africa.
When she realized the school might have to close if it didn’t receive help, Grimmette became determined not to let that happen.
To help raise money for her cause, Grimmette organized the first-ever World Music Festival at Saranac Lake High School about five years ago.
Since then, the event has grown from a few performances to a full day of workshops and presentations for people of all ages.
“It’s a celebration of different cultures, and to help promote the local groups that do a lot of different cultural dances,” Grimmette said. “A lot of these people have groups that meet on a weekly or monthly basis.”
This year’s all-day festival will begin at 8:45 a.m., and will culminate in a series of performances beginning at 7 p.m.
Attendees will only pay for the programs they want to attend, with all proceeds going to support Reason 2 Smile.
The morning and afternoon will be filled with workshops that include mask and instrument making, and with classes ranging from yoga to Wulaba West African drumming.
An intermission will include food from Green Goddess Natural Market and a cash bar provided by Desperados, both of Lake Placid, and at 6:30 p.m. there will be a Kenyan marketplace complete with handmade clothes, jewelery, toys and carvings straight from Kenya.
The classes and workshops will continue, and the day will culminate in a series of performances, starting with the all-male a capella group the UVM Top Cats.
Grimmette will also give a presentation on Reason 2 Smile, and there will be performances by Wulaba and Soma Beats Drum and Dance, and Saratoga Springs-based reggae band Robanic.
“I’d like to open people’s eyes up to other cultures and get them excited about them,” Grimmette said.
It’s a lot to pack into one day, and Grimmette hopes the festival can someday become a weekend-long affair.
“I feel like when we hear about other countries, it’s typically about negative things that are occurring in those countries,” Grimmette said. “If we can positively help people learn about other cultures and countries, maybe they’ll start to make positive connections to these places in the world rather than it being all about the fighting and the violence and the things we typically hear about on the news.”