How did you first hear about the Lotus organization?
When I moved to Bloomington as a graduate student, I was looking for music-oriented events and I immediately found the Lotus Festival. The prospect of volunteering in exchange for a ticket fit my graduate student budget, but more importantly, as a newcomer to Bloomington, it provided me an instant community of music lovers and friends with whom I could enjoy the Festival. I have been involved every year since and have learned more about the organization by meeting people at the Festival – including people like Tamara Lowenthal, LuAnne Holladay, Mark Hurley, Lynn Schwartzberg, and many others…

What initially inspired you to volunteer for our organization?
See above. What’s kept me volunteering? A belief in the Lotus mission to promote global music, arts, and culture and to welcome the world to our community. And of course, being surprised and delighted when I hear new artists and when I get to see how much people enjoy the Festival and children learn from Blossoms events.

What volunteer jobs have you performed?
Board member, Volunteer Steering Committee, Festival volunteer – house manager, door monitor/wristband checker, merchandise, Vol HQ manager, hospitality; Edible Lotus Volunteer (oh, those days of scooping chocolate mousse into dessert cups); office volunteer; Blossoms Bazaar volunteer; Fourth St. Festival and Art Fair on the Square volunteer; plus the various Big Red Beer events (ugh, emptying beer discard buckets!)
I really love working with the Volunteer committee – developing meaningful training, helping people meet other committed volunteers, and seeing all these volunteers pull off a festival is an amazing outcome.

Which volunteer experiences have you most enjoyed? Why?
All of them had their moments, but the best have been working the Festival – seeing people sway, dance, clap to the music, and appreciate the music gives me joy. I also love Blossoms events because it introduces children – many who may not have any other way access — to world music.

How would you describe to a friend why they should attend or volunteer for the Lotus Festival or the Lotus Blossoms Bazaar?
Lotus brings the world to our town. Don’t you want to experience this or help make it happen?

What is your favorite Lotus moment (favorite band, street scene, etc)?
My most magical moment is still Strange Fruit – seeing those swaying acrobats was a thrill, but right up there is Movits (such energy, all that jumping!), Tuvan throat singers (pure magic and a form of singing I’ve actually tried to emulate), Paris Combo and Lo’ Jo (I am a sucker for anything Parisian), Habib Koite (that guitar groove), March 4th (love active bands), and Bajofondo (experimental electronic tango!).
More memorable scenes: Packed tents, pure music moments in quiet churches, teenage boys dancing to an all-woman band, eating street food, dashing through the rain to get to the next venue, seeing all the volunteers having fun as they work!