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Harmony Festival Delights

Natacha Atlas bellydances, Harmony Festival

Delicious sounds, sights, activities and tastes were abundant at this past weekend's Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, Calif. While the audience (and their personal/lifestyle habits) are not our scene, we still had (with our 2 year-old in tow)a great music experience, food, activities and entertainment that we wouldn't hesitate to return to next year.

Call it a blend of Burning Man, a summer music festival and the Green Festival, the event blends top notch performing artists, sustainable food, and sustainable (and beautiful) goods suppliers.

Harmony also dubs itself a "lifestyle festival," meaning speakers sharing visions and practices for how to "live better" are present. I like that vision but the diversity of it can be really hard to manage when woven into a "we need change" agenda. It fell a little short and shallow for me because there is such a diversity of philosophies that comprise a progressive lifestyle movement.

Nevertheless, they did a really nice job accommodating families--complete with a children's stage area, an abutting a crafts and bookmaking garden, and ceramics painting--all that could be done while enjoying whatever was happening on the children's stage.

Some of the great music we saw:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. One of the groups my husband wanted to attend and see. Loud, strong rock like I didn't think he could appreciate. And after 15 minutes, our kid was listening and then rocking out with her Daddy!

    Natacha Atlas (top photo):  I've loved her music for a long time. During the mid-day show she sang in French, Arabic but when you listen to her, she sounds like any Brit you'd meet in a pub somewhere. She proclaims herself a "human Gaza strip" and has a fascinating musical career if you like multi-cultural collaborations. Her 2010 album, Monqualiba, is a really fun jazz piano, Arabic-spiced auditory journey. You probably haven't heard anything like it ever before.

      A San Francisco-based singer and songwriter with a lovely voice and great stuff for kids to enjoy.

      Other Fun Stuff:

      Kuna Prints
      : A vendor dedicated to using recycled mola fabrics to make fabulous, one-of-a-kind shoes while changing the lives of the Kuna Indians in Panama and Colombia.
        Kuna prints shoes

        Dreadlock-like hair. Isn't it fabulous?

        Dreadlock hair yarn

        There must have been ladybugs among us too...

        Ladybug tights

        Four Years Go
        . This is an interesting one, it's an online engine for change- of sorts. It is a way to publicly commit to changing your life in the next 4 years--away from our unsustainable path.  What they seem to be doing are an echo of the community engaged with Causes (which is more fundraising oriented) but it's a more open-end version of One Million Acts of Green. As I write this, For Years Go has almost at 11,000 commitments worldwide. Log in to get inspired, declare your own or just play voyeur on what others have said they will do. I think change is calling out for a leader and one single agenda that gets us all out of our seats.

        Moonalice.  Whoever thought of discovering a band by their incredible artwork?It was really hard for me to choose, just one...and their music ain't bad either.
        Moonalice concert poster

        And the finish? Dessert.

        Coconut Bliss:
          We've had it before but for those with any sort of lactose intolerance who cannot eat ice cream, take note, paradise has returned! More to come in this blog on something truly sinful I'll do with their amazing coconut-based frozen desserts.

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