The importance of festivals is documented throughout history and across virtually all cultures. Traditions like Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Diwali, and more highlight important cultural values and heritage. Festivals like these are a purposeful and profound way to connect with our roots, reflect on personal values and experiences, and identify rituals and practices that resonate with us. They offer individuals an opportunity to come together in celebration, strengthening our sense of belonging and cohesiveness.
Additionally, festivals tend to evoke a sense of joy and appreciation for our surroundings. Often, upon entering a festival grounds, one can feel positive energy radiating. This energy is mutually created and mutually shared amongst participants. It invites the possibility of contentment, relaxation, and the reduction of inhibitions. In this space, individuals can become fully present, strengthen self-awareness, explore passions and interests, build relationships, and connect with inner purpose to guide and sustain positive lifestyle choices.
When music is included in the festival experience, participants experience many physical and psychological benefits. An extensive review of peer-reviewed research journals conducted by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) concludes that music is universally appealing and helps promote social, emotional, and cognitive skills across many different disability categories. Music is widely accepted as an evidence-based therapy that is known to reduce stress, enhance memory, improve communication, strengthen sensory-processing, and more. Additionally, there is strong potential for communities with diverse needs and backgrounds to bond through shared musical experiences.
In today’s fast paced world, festival celebrations are not commonplace for all people. It is our belief that the festival experience, and inherent benefits, can be integrated into daily life and community spaces. Like festivals, our programs promote joy and unity while offering accessible recreational and educational experiences that highlight the value of inclusion.