|2011 HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL PRESENTS THE SILK ROAD : JOURNEY ACROSS ASIA|
APRIL 30-MAY 1, MAY 7-8
HOUSTON – Thousands will converge on the streets of Downtown Houston in April, as the 41st annual Houston International Festival spotlights The Silk Road: Journey Across Asia April 30-May 1 and May 7-8, 2011, with world musical performances, international arts and crafts markets, artisan demonstrations, interactive exhibits and plenty of food and fun for all ages.
The 2011 Houston International Festival (iFest) follows the route of Marco Polo with a focus on China , India and other cultures of the Silk Road . iFest brings the unique flavors, sights and sounds of the many cultures to downtown Houston for two weekends. Stretching across 16 acres of downtown parks and streets including City Hall, Bagby Street , and Tranquility and Sam Houston Parks , iFest features entertainment-themed zones including: Silk Road, Kids, Latin, International, Louisiana , Jamaican and African/Caribbean Zones.
An outdoor international art gallery and shopping experience offering numerous arts markets and international craft demonstrations featuring works from more than 500 artists from all over the globe.
The Houston International Festival continues its tradition as one of the largest presenters of internationally-acclaimed artists from around the globe. Each year, iFest puts the best of world music next to the finest national and regional roots music to demonstrate how music and dance can communicate across cultural and linguistic barriers. This year’s line up of national, regional and local musicians and performance groups entertain throughout the day on ten stages. 2011 highlights include: The Golden Dragon Acrobats from China along with the Best of Bollywood, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jonny Lang, Lucinda Williams, Keb’ Mo’, Robert Cray Band, Joe Ely Reunion Band, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Jimmie Vaughan, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rootz Underground, Red Baraat, Rahim Alhaj & Little Earth Orchestra, Atash, Mayapuris, Riyaaz Qawwali, Kora Konnection, Cedric Watson, Glen David Andrews, Soul Rebels, Honey Island Swamp Band, J. Paul Jr., Step Rideau, Lil Brian & The Travelers,
Los Skarnales, Kyle Turner, Jud Johnson Band, Emory Quinn, Mike Stinson, The Blaggards, Karina Nistal, Norma Zenteno, Rainel Pino Salsa Orchestra, Chango Man, Buxton, Space City Gamelan, Free Radicals, Moodafaruka, among others.
In addition, iFest will host a special Friday night concert featuring Kronos Quartet, Homayun Sakhi, and the Houston Grand Opera (April 29)
The Chevron Silk Road Living Museum is the centerpiece of the 2011 festival and features a variety of educational and cultural exhibits covering the history of the Silk Road . Highlights include:
* Great Wall of China: The journey begins with a 100-foot-long winding reproduction of the Great Wall of China . Guests walk along the wall and view a range of information about the history of Chinese dynasties, cultural information and a photography exhibit about China . Climb a staircase to the top of one of the towers and look out over the festival grounds. Inside the two 12-foot-tall towers, see Chinese opera masks and other cultural items.
Additional cultural exhibits include:
* Chinese Silk exhibit: Explore the history of silk production, or sericulture, with displays of silkworms and their cocoons. Also included will be various types of silk on display and demonstrations of hand weaving by the Houston Handweavers Association. Demonstrations of traditional silk embroidery are also planned.
* Chinese Calligraphy exhibit: Written information about the history of calligraphy in China featuring live demonstrations of calligraphy and the opportunity for the public to have their name written in Chinese. Traditional Chinese paper cutting designs will also be demonstrated.
* Chinese Teahouse: Traditional Chinese tea ceremony
* Gateway of India: A reproduction of the famous structure in Mumbai, which incorporates Islamic architecture with Hindu iconography, will house a variety of information on the history of India and its importance on the Silk Road , with a particular focus on the maritime routes.
* India Zone: Arts and cultural exhibits representing the distinct areas of the northern, southern, eastern and western regions of India presented by local Indian community. The local Hare Krishna temple will present exhibits on traditional ayurvedic medicine, traditional dress and a spice exhibit housed in an Indian village setting.
* Trojan Horse: The journey continues to a reproduction of the famous Trojan Horse from the ancient city of Troy , which was located in Turkey , an important stop along the Silk Road . Visitors can climb into the horse and look through windows in the structure. A variety of arts and cultural exhibits on the history of Turkey and its importance along the eastern end of the Silk Road will be presented by the local Turkish community.
* Arts and Culture of the Silk Road: Exhibit featuring information on the artistic, musical, religious, architectural and other cultural aspects of the Silk Road countries.
* Venetian Bridge and Gondola: The journey along the Silk Road ends with a stop in Venice , the Western end of trade route where silks and other exotic items made their way to the rest of Europe and western goods made their way back through Central Asia to China . Stand atop a Venetian-style bridge or climb into a reproduction of an elaborate gondola and imagine they are floating down the Grand Canal .
The 2011 Houston International Festival is open from 12 -10 p.m. Saturdays, 12 - 8 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are on sale at the festival website at www.ifest.org and participating H-E-B Grocery locations. Prices are $12 in advance, $18 at the gate, with kids 12 and under admitted free on Sunday, May 8, courtesy of ConocoPhillips. On the other days, children’s tickets are $3. Weekend Passport packages, which include four tickets and two parking passes, are available at $60. Seating in the shaded iFest Lounge can be purchased as either individual tickets or as an option with the Weekend Passport, exclusively at the festival website. Discount ticket rates are available to groups of 20 or more.
All proceeds benefit the Festival arts and education program, presented in partnership with HISD, featuring a Teacher’s Curriculum Guide, underwritten by Chevron and produced by the Houston International Festival. The guide is distributed to 1471 campuses in 54 schools districts in 7 counties including HISD, Harris, Galveston and Fort Bend Counties .
For more information, call 713-654-8808 or access the Festival’s official website at www.ifest.org.