CalArts prepares for this weekend’s annual World Music and Dance Festival

CalArts's Aza West African Ensemble performs at the World Music Festival 2018. Photos by: Angel Origgi. Courtesy of CalArts.

Dozens of international artists and dancers will head to California Institute of the Arts this week for the school’s annual World Music and Dance Festival, which will occur over the course of three days from Friday to Sunday.

With more than 20 free outdoor concerts that’ll feature music from Japan, Iran, India, Bali, Ghana, Bulgaria and beyond, CalArts officials said the event is one that the whole family can enjoy.

Since the early 1970s, the annual festival has brought celebrated international artists to perform with faculty and students from CalArts’ renowned World Music Program, according to the event’s website. This year’s action will take place at two open-air venues: The Wild Beast Concert Pavilion and The Remo and Ami Belli stage, but there will also be food trucks, a vendor village with instrument makers, and raffles and giveaways.

Some of the highlighted artists who are expected to perform this weekend include:  percussionist Pranesh Khan and sarod master Aashish Khan, who represent the first family of North Indian classical music; Sulley Imoro, a Ghanaian master of Dagomba drum, dance, and song; and Balinese gamelan maestro I. Nyoman Wenten and acclaimed dancer Nanik Wenten, who are long-time Santa Clarita Valley residents and the subjects of the 2019 documentary film, “Bali: Beats of Paradise,” which will be shown in a special screening at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

The festival kicks off Friday at 5:30 p.m. and will continue until 8 p.m., according to event organizers. Those who can’t attend the first day of the event are invited to campus again on Saturday and Sunday, when the concerts will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

School officials suggested that attendees reserve a space by visiting, but those who don’t will still be able to enter.
The event will also be streamed live via a webcast that can be accessed at, and if you’re interested in catching a specific group or dance routine, a full schedule of the weekend-long festival can be found on the CalArts’ website at

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