Tag Archives: festival

Bringing Music Back to the Kids Through High School Nation

89d94678302311e39d8022000a1fa9ec_7Imagine you’re back in high school trying to make it through 3rd period history without falling asleep. How awesome would it be if a giant truck rolled into the parking lot and unloaded all the makings of a music festival onto the front lawn? That’s what High School Nation, a non-profit organization that works to promote and fund music and art programs in schools, is doing for high school and middle school students around the country. By bringing live music to campus and giving kids a free concert with the help of generous sponsors, High School Nation hopes to inspire students to pick an instrument and express themselves in creative ways.

Intent recently chatted with lead singer of the band STAMPS – who are currently on their third HSN tour – Ren Patrick about the organization, how they got involved and what it means to her to make sure music programs and the arts stay alive in public schools.

Intent: What is High School Nation and how did STAMPS get involved? 

Ren: High School Nation is an organization that is promoting arts and music in schools all across the country. It’s really cool and important to us because I was so involved in choir growing up, since middle school. Basically, it’s a charity tour with a ton of sponsors – like Ernie Ball, Guitar Center, and Monster – all of those donate their products and money. All of that is given to each school.

We got involved with that through the person that created High School Nation. His name is Jimmy Cantillon. We went on tour with his brother who is in a  band called Tommy and the High Pilots. They heard our music and said “Wow, you guys would be great for this demographic because it’s all – it’s touring high schools all across the country.” It’s just really cool organization.

 Intent: What is a typical day on an HSN tour like when you get to the school? 

Ren: It’s basically a festival type thing. you go in and there’s a tent all set up. There’s an Ernie Ball stage – which is what they use at Warped Tour. All the sponsors have their own thing they are representing. All the kids come out and we play a show. It’s basically a crazy, madness sea of children and it’s amazing.

Intent: What do you guys think is your favorite part of performing for HSN? 

Ren: Sometimes at the show you can really connect to a kid. They’ll come up to you afterwards [or] they’ll be hanging around the merch table. They get really real with you, and say something that’s really hard for them to say. Sometimes they will come up to us and confess their depression or that the cut themselves or they’ve been having a terrible week, but [then] they say, “You guys just made my week,” or “Now I have a new favorite band and something to look forward to.” It breaks my heart but it makes me really happy that we can make them happy. To be able to make their day in any way is really special to us.

Intent: What difference do you think it makes when kids are exposed to the arts early on? 

Ren: I think it makes a huge difference. There are so many talented kids that have no idea they are talented yet. For a lot of people it takes something like band or choir or orchestra to realize what they are good at. You won’t know you’re good at guitar unless you start playing guitar. They have so much potential and it’s sad to see a talent like that go to waste. It would be sad to see programs like that disappear.

Photo credit: High School Nation snapwidget


High School Nation continues it’s fall Tour at the following cities

Oct. 9 – Newark, NJ
Oct. 10 – Trention, NJ
Oct. 11 – Atlantic City, NJ
Oct. 14 – Baltimore, MD
Oct. 15 – Washington, DC
Oct. 16 – Virginia Beach, VA
Oct. 17 – Raleigh, NC
Oct. 18 – Charlotte, NC

STAMPS was recently recognized as a BMI indie spotlight artist. They have a self-titled EP which you can listen to on their website. They are currently in the process of recording a follow-up and will continue producing a new record at the end of the High School Nation tour so stay tuned for that!

A Spiritual Gathering with a Few Thousand Friends

Have you ever been to a religious or spiritual gathering?

No, your neighbor’s Easter party doesn’t count; but the last rock concert you went to might. In this week’s episode of HOLY FACTS, we’re talking about gatherings of thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of people who come together to commune over some mutual interest or faith.

Host Gotham Chopra discusses several of the heavy hitters – Burning Man in the Nevada desert, the Kumbh Mela in India, and even the Gathering of the Juggalos, a festival in southern Illinois for fans of the music group Insane Clown Posse. What better way to enjoy your passion than in the company of a hundred thousand other people who feel likewise?

HF - GatheringsBelow we’ve introduced several more gatherings from around the world that fall into the category “religious,” “spiritual” or “just plain fun.” Take your pick, and best of luck to you finding your tribe.

1) For the religion seekers:

If you find yourself in India during the months of February and March, be sure to hit the streets for Holi, a Hindu holiday that celebrates the onset of spring. For two days, thousands of people run through the towns throwing brightly colored and scented powders at one another, visiting temples along the way. No matter what religion or tradition you follow, springtime is certainly a worthy cause for celebration. And a massive, country-wide powder fight sounds like the perfect way to leave winter behind.

2) For the spirit junkies:

If you’re looking for a Burning Man-type festival, minus the $300 entry tickets and desert living conditions, look no further than the Rainbow Gathering, held every year in North America during the first week of July. The festival began in the 1970s in Colorado, and many point to Woodstock and the 1960s Human Be-in as its sources of inspiration. Whatever the case, the gathering is still going strong, with regional and international offshoot festivals taking place throughout the year. The Rainbow Gathering is a celebration of life that emphasizes peace, consensus, and non-commercialism. This summer’s gathering will be held in Montana. So, got any 4th of July plans yet?

3) For some good old-fashioned fun:

Who could go wrong with a motto like “Love, Friendship, and Music”? Every year in Poland, thousands gather for the weekend-long free music festival, Przystanek Woodstock, named after the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York. Roughly 30 bands play every year, with styles ranging from folk to metal to reggae to classical. In addition to musical performances, artists, journalists, religious leaders and even politicians show up to mingle with the young festival-goers. Representatives from the Hare Krishna movement also show up to organize an Indian food cafeteria, as well as yoga and meditation classes. The 2011 gathering hosted over 700,000 participants, roughly the size of three Coachella festivals rolled into one.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Then start your own festival! Just be sure to bring a few thousand friends along for the ride.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and let us know about your favorite spiritual gathering!

The Festival of Holi: A Celebration of Color — A Vision of Unity and Love


Festival of Holi: A Celebration of Colors — A Vision of Unity and Love





This weekend, millions of jubilant people in India and other countries are celebrating the Festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors. Holi is one of the most significant festivals in Hindu society, though people of all faiths are welcome to participate. The dates of the festival are determined by the lunar calendar, and take place late February to mid March on the full moon day known as “Phalgum Purnima”.


The Festival of Holi heralds the arrival of spring with a burst of vibrant colors. Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil and symbolizes harmony, unity and love. During Holi, people attend parties and family gatherings and greet each other by applying tilak on the person’s forehead. Bonfires are built the evening before and elaborate feasts are served, but color is the primary element of this unique celebration. 


Participants gleefully anoint each other with brightly colored powders known as “Abeer” or “Gulal” and colored waters sprayed with Pichkaris and balloons. Older people bless younger ones by rubbing pink Abeer on their foreheads. Younger ones show respect by smearing Abeer on their feet. People stand in the streets shouting "Holi-hai! Holi-hai!" raining colored water or powder on anyone who passes by. There is no restriction and no "class distinction" during Holi. On this day, everyone is the same.  Everyone is equal. Everyone is participating in the game.


Today I have found myself daydreaming about Holi, wishing I could participate in this spectacular idea. How magnificent it would be to wake to a world in technicolor, knowing everyone I meet today will recognize us as equal and One. How glorious to express the truth of us so vividly and explicitly — brilliant prisms of joyful energy reflecting the full spectrum of the Divine! Not one of us better. Not one of us lesser. No one irrelevant. And No one left out. All of us luminous, in every color, arm in arm, and following our bliss.


Holi-hai! Holi-hai! Holi-hai!


For stunning festival photos click below: 






Kimberly King, President & CEO

The Peace Company & Peace Leadership Institute



The Day I Call Eid

As the holiday season descends upon us, I, along with approximately 1.5 billion others across the globe, find myself celebrating for an entirely different purpose. It is time for yet another Eid and, while to some the very occasion may go completely unheard of, to so many of us it is the most joyous occurrence of the year. It signifies the coming together of our families, friends, and brothers and sisters in faith to both rejoice and reflect.

And this year, perhaps because Eid is sandwiched between an array of other festivities, I cannot help but reflect on what it is exactly that makes this day so special. After all, as a young woman who was born in the States and brought up in Italy, it is only fair that I partake in other said festivities as they come and go in this spate of merry months.

After all, I, too, dressed up with the hoards of others this Halloween and paraded about the mall with my 6-month-old pumpkin niece; I do anticipate the excitement of Christmas, the beauty of the lights and the general merriment with which it is associated; I have tentative plans to ring in New Year’s in New York City with millions of others, even if Times Square is a scarily overwhelming place; I will most likely spend Feb. 14 lamenting the existence of Valentine’s Day with a couple of girlfriends, even though secretly we all wish we had a Valentine; and boy did I ever enjoy the gargantuan Thanksgiving meal that my family consumed just over a week ago.

So where does that leave Eid? Some say its value diminishes as Muslims assimilate this cultural revelry of holidays that are traditionally ‘un-Islamic’. Others say it is nothing more than a fashion show or a mere excuse to stuff ourselves to our heart’s content. Many say it gets lost in a sea of celebrations that represent nothing more than materialistic fluff. Well, I say otherwise.

I say Eid means so much more to me in the global hodgepodge known as society today, and I say this because with each holiday that I add to my annual repertoire, the more I realize that if there is one holiday that truly belongs to me, that holiday is Eid. If there is just one holiday from the lot that is completely personal and spiritual, that holiday is Eid. If I look forward to simply celebrating one holiday in the entire year, that holiday is Eid. And if I had the choice of just one day on which to meet all of my family and friends, then that day would be Eid. 

Putting It into Perspective

One of the things I enjoy each year in my bustling Venice neighborhood is visiting the Abbot Kinney festival.

Our part of Venice has gone through somewhat of a renaissance over the last few years. My husband and I have only lived here for four years, so we weren’t here for the darkest days, when drug deals and shootings made many parts of Venice no-go. We came to Venice as it began to turn, you’d see more families on the streets, new shops and restaurants started to open and Abbot Kinney began to evolve from a little known artistic/beach community for locals into the uber-hip funky street it is today.

As with many areas that undergo gentrification, this process hasn’t come without its share of controversy. Not everyone welcomes an influx of new people and many resent the rising house prices and no longer being able to find a park in your own backyard.

So this year’s festival being the most popular (and crowded) yet was greeted with mixed feelings by many locals. I for one didn’t go. We’d had a tiring weekend with the kids and pushing a stroller through that madness, well I just wasn’t up for it. And now I’m so glad I didn’t.

The news that a man was shot and a woman badly injured in a shooting at the end of the festival shocked many in our community. Much as we may bemoan the radical changes that are changing our neighborhood, I think everyone would agree we don’t want to see a return to those crime-striken days.

My thoughts go out to the families who are suffering after this event. It happened a block from my boy’s school. We walked past the floral tribute on our way in this morning. With everything going on in the world today, events like this put your own stresses and concerns into perspective.

So my intent for today is to be thankful for what I have, keep my loved ones safe, and believe in my community.

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