The buzz is building for Los Angeles’ Kuli Mela festival, which will run from Wednesday July 29th until August 2nd this year.
Kuli Mela is a series of festivals designed to reunite, inspire, educate and entertain alumni from ISKCON’s Gurukula schools, popularly known as “Kulis.” Since its inception in 2006, it has evolved into a sensation and revolutionized the way ISKCON youth socialize and plan their futures. This year’s LA festival follows on from wildly successful events in New Vrindaban, USA in 2006, Alachua, USA and Moscow, Russia in 2007, and Radhadesh, Belgium in 2008.
Guests and volunteers will arrive and register for the event, which is also the 20th anniversary of LA’s famous Kuli reunion, on Wednesday. On Thursday, Kulis will attend a full day of workshops and seminars at the Masonic Lodge near LA’s ISKCON temple. Sports events and workshops will also be held at a local park, with an art exhibition rounding off the evening.
A night of prime entertainment is promised on Friday, with organizers commenting cryptically, “We’re trying to get a fantastic theater space, but it’s still in the works.” The lineup will include live bands The Ghost Brothers, One Way and Gaura Vani, as well as dance performances, a fashion show, a multimedia presentation, an appreciation ceremony, and finally a late night of spiritually infused dance with Kuli DJs.
Saturday will see more seminars in the Masonic Lodge and arts workshops in the LA temple’s food hall, as well as a traditional picnic in Culver Park. The evening’s entertainment will be a specialty of LA’s Kuli community – a play – and it’s expected to be an all-out spectacle. “We are still looking for sponsorship to ensure that it is of the highest quality our talent can produce,” says organizer Chaitanya Mangala Dasa.
Kuli Mela LA 2009 will come to a grand conclusion on Sunday, with Kulis playing a major part in the parade and onstage at Los Angeles Ratha Yatra, one of the biggest Ratha “Cart” festivals in the world.
LA’s Kuli Mela is the first held in a city, and as such it lacks the central guest house facility that previous events had. However, organizers say this has never stopped previous Kuli reunions and other large gatherings. “We are encouraging people to contact their friends, share hotel rooms or house rentals, and just make the effort to come to this 20th reunion special,” Chaitanya Mangala says.
Kulis can follow preparations for the event on Twitter, or visit Kuli Mela’s Myspace or Facebook pages. “We look forward to hearing from you, sharing with you, and experiencing another tremendous event with you all,” says Chaitanya Mangala.
To pre-register, and for more information on schedule, workshops, volunteering, entertainment, and hotels to stay at, visit www.kulimela.com and click on the LA event.
The Kuli Mela juggernaut will carry on next year, with Kuli Mela Australia already planned for November 2010.