Kumba Festival, Market Square, Knoxville, July 2022
That’s really the best word for it: Joy. Joy in the dancing, the drumming, and the smiling faces of so many children who had worked so hard to prepare for their performances. The festival, which skipped a beat for the pandemic, returned to Market Square on Friday and moved to Morning Side Park for Saturday and Sunday.
I was able to stop in for a couple of hours on Friday, allowing me to check out the vendors, drummers, and dancers. The Kuumba Watoto Dance and Drum Village Extravaganza and Indigenous Vibes performed on and in front of the stage with performers ranging from maybe three years old into their twenties.
The Drums Up, Guns Down formed the core group of drummers and dancers, with a focus on West African Drumming. Zulu stilt dancers from New Orleans also joined in, dancing, jumping, and amazing everyone gathered. The night ended with a musical celebration, but I had other plans and had to miss that.
It’s great to see people outside, celebrating, and enjoying the city and each other once again. Kuumba, which means creativity is Swahili, is sponsored by African American Appalachian Arts Inc.(AAAA)