Colombia

Reflecting on the Festival Experience

The Festival never ends. Although it is an ephemeral event, its effects last long beyond its ten days of intense performance and interaction. Participants return to their homes with new knowledge and insights learned from their experiences and interactions with visitors and with one another. Festival production generates new research and research areas. The event is a catalyst for scholarly, social, political, and economic activities. And it often stimulates tourism as well as local and national cultural policy for participating countries and regions.

These pages document some of the ongoing impacts of the Colombia program—such as its restaging in Medellín and Bogotá and the tourism and economic activities that it stimulated. You will also find the reflections of scholars who presented and volunteered for the program. Each comments on the unique quality of knowledge that the Festival experience offered them as they interacted with both participants and the public. One Colombian graduate student was even inspired to write her thesis on her experience of presenting at the Festival.

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Visitors and artists interact under the guadua (bamboo) tents in the Colombia program area. Photo by Francisco Guerra/Courtesy of the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution