The 24-Hour Kirtan (24HK) is celebrating its 5th Anniversary. The dates for this year’s festival are June 18-19, 2011. Held in the foothills of West Virginia at the Krishna farm community of New Vrindaban, the festival offers an opportunity to chant shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most gifted Mantra Music artists in the world. For the nearly 1000 people who attend this festival each year, it marks the beginning of Summer. Taking place on the third weekend in June, as per tradition, it falls one week after the New York Ratha-Yatra. The festival is free to all who attend including meals throughout the weekend. A $25 suggested donation is requested to help cover the costs of running the festival. Larger donations and sponsorships are welcome and can be made from www.Mantralogy.com/24.
Past years have included Mantra Music chanters Radhanath Swami, Bada Haridas Prabhu, The Mayapuris, Sivaram Swami, and Madhava Prabhu to name a few. This year’s festival features Bhakti Charu Swami, Agnideva Prabhu, and Amala Kirtan, along with the many artists who have become a staple of the 24HK including Ananta Govinda, Acyuta Gopi, Gaura Vani, and the young, meteoric, Ayush Sharma. (See Mantralogy.com/24 for a complete list of chanters.)
“I’ve helped put on Krishna-influenced festivals from Burning Man to Rainbow Gatherings,” says Nitai das, (one of the 24HK producers) adding, “There’s nothing like the 24HK. In only five years it’s changed the landscape of the continent. It’s the crucible of kirtan.” Kirtans will take place in the Temple hall which remains open all night to accommodate the chanting. There will be no stage this year as some have expressed it can create a mood of separation between the musicians and the attendees. We’re excited to see how it increases the mood of family and closeness at this year’s festival.
In the newly emerging sub-culture of Mantra Music, a short list of music festivals in North America are proving to be very important. Among these, the 24HK is unique for its simplicity. It’s a no frills festival – the only one with non-stop kirtan for 24 hours. And this year the organizers have decided to change the scheduling of the festival to feature younger generation artists during the day time hours, reserving the intense night time 11pm to 4am for established chanters like Gaura Vani, Acyuta Gopi and Ananta Govinda.
“I’m so lucky to be chanting at this festival. I still can’t believe it!” says 13-year-old Ayush, who will travel from Seattle to West Virginia with his elder brother Vivek. “I’ve idolised all these guys for ever. They’ve been so encouraging to me. I feel like I’m part of a big family.” “We are hoping to create a platform to encourage and appreciate a new generation of chanters who are the future of this scene.” says Rasa Acharya (Mantralogy co-owner and co-festival producer).
It’s an opportunity to refocus on what’s most important and essential. No “isms”. No politics. No distractions. 24 hours of swimming, splashing, and diving in the ancient, sacred names of Radha and Krishna with other like-minded souls.
The festival includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Each hour will also be webcasted live around the world and the recordings will be available for free download. The recordings from the past four years are available online at Mantralogy.com/24. Accommodations are not included and can be procured by contacting the Palace Lodge directly (304-843-1600 x111) or at surrounding hotels.
In order to cover the costs of the free festival, the 24HK Team is actively seeking and accepting donations and has published its budget online. Some key areas to support are: 4 Meals for 600-800 people, travel costs and honorariums for artists, sound system rental, printing costs, marketing and promotions, staffing (from management to bathroom cleaning). Based on the amount of donations raised, festival organizers have created a “Suggested Donation,” a voluntary contribution that can be paid at the time of arrival at the festival for all that have the desire and means to give.
“We see this festival as a glimpse into the future,” says Ananda Tirtha (Chairman of the 24HK). “We are cooperating closely with the management of the temple here and trying to build a festival that can sustain for many years to come.”
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Srila Prabhupada says
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