Namaste! Festival Celebrates Indian Heritage Electrifying Cultural Experience Comes to the Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Celebrate the music, food, crafts, and culture of India at the Namaste! Festival taking place December 3, 2022 from 10:30 am to 8 pm on the grounds of the Pompano Beach Amphitheater and Community Park.
This entertaining and immersive experience will feature 100 performers on two stages and 80 booths/exhibits showcasing Indian arts, crafts, and foods. The event is hosted by Florida Fine Arts Inc. and is produced by the Akshaya Patra Foundation. Admission is free, with registration at www.namastefl.com.

“We are delighted to showcase the rich 5000-year history of India and entertain our visitors while raising awareness about our charity, which supports the world’s largest NGO school meal program,” said Raj Rajgopal, co-chair of the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

There will be many musical acts taking the stage during the festival including the first of its kind music ensemble Sunshine Ragas performing at 3 pm. This band consists of over 20 young vocalists, instrumentalists, and percussionists. The ensemble will perform an original blend of Indian music with western classical, jazz and other world music genres. Desh-Videsh magazine describes Sunshine Ragas as “reinvigorating Indian music and beautifully blending diversity with tradition.”

“We are very proud of the incredible performers who be gracing the stages and sharing the beautiful culture of India through song, dance, and music,” said Sanjay Chandran, an acclaimed violinist, who founded the nonprofit Florida Fine Arts Inc., to introduce Indian Culture to Florida and the broader North American community. “Having produced similar style events in Phoenix, we are proud to bring this joyful experience to Pompano Beach.”

“The City of Pompano Beach is honored that the Namaste! Festival chose the beautiful grounds of the Pompano Beach Amphitheater and Community Park for this incredible celebration,” said Earl Bosworth, Assistant City Manager. “The grounds are the perfect location for expansive events, allowing for multiple experiences that will entertain and educate residents and visitors alike.”

Other key experiences include:

  • Yoga & Mindfulness by Hatha Yoga exponent Pooja Subhashchandra at 10:30 am.
  • Chenda Melam, a unique ensemble playing the Chenda, percussion instrument used for almost all Kerala art forms like Kathakali for over 300 years, at 11 am.
  • Two-time Knight Foundation Arts Challenge winner, Ranjana Warier’s Rhythms School of Dance at 2 pm.
  • “Battle of the Indian Lutes”, the first of its kind seen in South Florida, a Sitar-Veena Jugalbandi (which means, literally, “entwined twins.”) by groups led by Deepti Pappusetty (Sitar) and Kavitha Jayaraman (Veena) at 1:30 pm.
  • Nach Bollywood Style, performing an energetic blend of Bollywood and Indian Folk dance, led by Amishi Patel, at 2:30 pm.
  • Bharatnatyam and Kathak dances between 1 PM and 5 PM by Narthana Dance School of Priya Nagaraj, Natya Marga School of Dance by Natya Marga School of Dance of Madhavi Menon, Nritya School of Indian Dance and Music of Hema Sharma and Natya Drishyam School of Dance of Meera Kumar.
  • DJ playing popular Indian Bollywood songs ideal for dancing from 5:30 to 8 PM.

About the Curator of Namaste! Festival: Sanjay Chandran, founder of Florida Fine Arts, Inc.

Sanjay Chandran is an accomplished violinist of Indian classical and world music genres. He has played solo concerts and performed with many renowned Indian musicians all over the world and received many awards/honors, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for “The Most Promising Young Violinist” from the Government of India. He has performed and continues to perform original acoustic jazz fusion music with highly acclaimed jazz artists and has founded/co-founded multiple world music bands that perform an original blend of Indian Classical music with progressive jazz, pop, Celtic, Middle Eastern and African music.

He and his team first successfully organized “Discover India”, an Indian Heritage festival in the Phoenix, AZ metro area in collaboration with the City of Scottsdale in 1999 and the festival continues to be held every year (except 2020 and 2021 due to Covid). He also curated and performed in Jazz Yatra 2007 and 2008, two highly eclectic concerts of world music and dance, that were held respectively at the Broward Center of Performing Arts and Coral Springs Center for the Arts.

He founded Florida Fine Arts Inc., a non-profit 501c(3) tax exempt organization, a few years ago with the mission of showcasing the rich Indian culture and heritage to the Florida and broader North American community and to collaborate with other cultures to make the arts rich and diverse.

Akshaya Patra (Aak-sh-ayah pa-tra) is the world’s largest NGO school meal program, providing hot, nutritious lunches to over 2 million children in 20,000 schools, across India every day for the incredibly low cost of $20 per child per year. Using technology and scale, Akshaya Patra centralized kitchens prepare and distribute up to 250,000 hot lunches every day. With its vision of “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”, Akshaya Patra is looking to feed $5m under privileged children by 2025.

Akshaya Patra through its South Florida Chapter chairs has established a nonprofit Namaste, A Grand Indian Art and Food Festival to promote awareness about Akshaya Patra by promoting Arts, Culture and Food. All proceeds from Namaste go towards helping the cause of feeding underprivileged children.
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