Forecastle Goes Forth and Inspires

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This past weekend, I volunteered at the Forecastle Festival, an annual event that is equal parts music, art, and activism.  The festival was founded in Louisville by JK McKnight eight years ago and has grown from a small crowd at Tyler Park to a large gathering of several thousand people at the Belvedere. It's been praised by Outside Magazine as "One of the Top 25 festivals of 2009" and SPIN Magazine as "One of the Top 101 things to do in America".

Last year, I was moved by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s keynote address that encouraged  the sunburned crowd to "think globally and act locally" by becoming caretakers of the Ohio River. This year's keynote address was delivered by Christopher Childs, an environmental activist and former Greenpeace spokesperson, who wove education and spirtitual themes into his presentation. Following his talk, he signed copies of his book The Spirit's Terrain: Creativity, Activism, and Transformation.

In addition to an inspiring keynote and a plethora of great bands, highlights from this year's festival included an art exhibit by Louisville-born artist Rebecca Norton that was presented by Ohio Valley Creative Energy and a mandala comprised of natural flora and fauna that grew and evolved as festival attendees added to the creation. New additions included Lexington's March Madness Marching Band, a Heine Brothers Coffee cart, tarot card readers and face painters, a disco tent, an Oxygen bar and a booth set up by the law school's Student Animal Legal Defense Fund that included petitions, photos and information about the group's activities.