The One Love Festival

With the sound of drums filling the Jane P. Batten Center, a celebration of peace and community began Saturday, Sept. 20. The One Love Festival was conceived as a collection of different programs that all carry the same message: “What would world peace look like, if onlyfor a day?”

With a mix of various family-friendly events throughout the day, One Love is a community gathering celebration for peace. A drum circle in the Batten Center that took place from 1-5 p.m. in the Grille encapsulated the sense of community.

Sponsored by the World’s Largest Drum Circle, an entire community came out and drummed for peace.

The One Love Festival gave attendees the message to take what inspires and create something with it, while concurrently allowing people from in and around campus the opportunity for fellowship and interaction with one another.

Bringing the campus together with a lively mixture of drumming and dancing, everyone had the opportunity to “Drum Their Dream,” as was the event’s slogan, and express themselves through music. The World’s Largest Drum Circle program is rooted in a number of people who are not linked to the Virginia Wesleyan community, that came out to fellowship and connect with the campus community, filled with eccentric and interesting people. One of the drummers who was blind, but able to play amazing melodies, and drummer Mizani came to fellowship with the community in her brightly colored dress and dreadlocks, said that “I enjoy [One Love Festival] and the fellowship that comes along with it.”

This was indeed the case, from the respectable turnout of the young, old and students alike. Robin Burton, there with her young granddaughter, borrowed a big drum. She said she enjoys drumming events such as this one because you do not need to be an expert to be accepted into the camaraderie of the circle.

“It’s forgiving and welcoming and it just feels good,” Burton said. She believes drumming together teaches people that they share a common bond.

As for the impact on the various communities that similar drum circles are organized in, head facilitator Arthur Lopez, the eccentric drummer who made the event inviting to everyone, says that the purpose of these events are about “creating unity and bringing people together, through music.”

While this event is one of the lesser known events on campus, it fulfills an important functional role in the larger community, Even if you only attend the event once it will make you feel like a bigger part of the campus community.

Sarah Antozzi & Robin Peterson