Maharishi University Management Student Activities has planned a festival that seeks to bring the whole community together.
The group is hosting the second annual Solis Festival on Saturday, May 25, on the M.U.M. campus. The event will feature live music and more than 70 vendors selling a range of products and services such as food, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, woodwork and handmade crafts. It will include a kids’ area, game center, raffle baskets, silent auction and bounce houses for both children and adults.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside and around the Argiro Student Center. It is free and open to the public.
Luna Pinder, who founded the event last year and who is in charge of it once again this year, said the festival gets its name from the Latin word for sun. She said it’s a celebration of spring turning into summer, of longer days and warmer weather.
“When we were planning the event, we wondered what to call it,” Pinder said. “We thought it should be a name that we look forward to, a time of more sun and being able to enjoy our days outside.”
Last year’s event was interrupted by rain, forcing the outdoor vendors and activities to either close or move inside. Pinder said if it rains this year, the organizers plan to hold the festival the following Saturday, June 1.
Pinder said yard games will be set up east of the Argiro Student Center. New this year will be an outdoor video game area for adults and teenagers. Vendors will be inside Argiro Student Center and outside on the grass.
“We try to stress that the festival is to bring the community together,” Pinder said. “We’ve already gotten donations for next year, and we hope we can do it for many years. It’s a free festival, so people can enjoy it without breaking the bank.”
Pinder said she and a group of students have been fundraising and planning for the event for the past eight months.
“It will be great to see it come to fruition at the end of the month,” she said.
One of the new features on M.U.M.’s campus is the amphitheater east of the Argiro Student Center. It’s an outdoor stage overlooking rows of tiered seating, surrounded by grass. Last year’s Solis Festival was the official inauguration of the amphitheater.
Performing on the new amphitheater will be a slew of great, local musicians. The day begins with DJ Hypelord laying down tracks from 10 a.m. to noon. From then, the live music selection will go as follows:
Noon-1 p.m.: Skunk River Medicine Show
1-2 p.m.: Never Knows Best
2-3 p.m.: Foliba
3-4 p.m.: Baraka
4-5 p.m.: Open mic
5-6 p.m.: Fairtown Ramblers
The following band biographies were compiled by Jim Karpen of the Maharishi Review:
The Skunk River band performs vintage acoustic blues and ragtime, with Tom Morgan on acoustic guitar and six-string banjo and George Foster on electric and acoustic bass guitars, as well as percussion.
Never Knows Best, formerly based in Keosauqua and now based in Fairfield, plays eclectic alternative rock. The band includes Levi Sherrod on drums and guitar, Lucas Sherrod on bass, Carson Schuck on lead guitar, and Curtis Oliver on rhythm guitar, with all of the members contributing to the vocals.
Baraka features M.U.M. faculty and alumni including Amine Kouider, Younes Kouider, Karen Aoki, James Moore and John Estrin.
The Fairtown Ramblers will entertain with their unusual instrumentation: guitar, banjo, violin, clarinet, and flute. The group is a fixture in local coffee and tea shops, Fairfield First Fridays, and can be heard accompanying the Contra dances at Morning Star Studio. Band members include Ann Bosold, Albert Stimson, Lang Stallings and Joe Overmyer.
Foliba will perform authentic West African drumming. This type of drumming is known to carry linguistic meaning in the local languages, with different phrases having different literal and/or figurative meanings. Drums historically are part and parcel of special occasions and especially everyday tasks. There is a direct interaction between the drum sounds and dance steps. This type of drumming has even been used to communicate over distances.
The members of Foliba have learned the art from master drummers from West Africa.
Also performing will be HypeLord, the stage name for student Josh Habick. He has put together a set specifically for Solis that he calls “Low Key Hype,” which is a mix of EDM, Hip Hop, and some fresh throwbacks.
“It starts off pretty chill and, as the name suggests, low key, but gradually transitions into a more ‘hypy’ vibe towards the end,” Habick said. “I figured since I’m going on at 10 a.m., I should make it an easy transition for everybody who’s just waking up, but by the end of my set, I’m going to make sure everybody’s wide awake for the rest of the performers.”