2015 festivals

Dancer from Festival of Nations in Forest Park, Aug. 29-30.

photo by Julia Bailey

Dancer from Festival of Nations in Forest Park, Aug. 29-30.

LouFest

Crowds filled Forest Park with their children, blankets and LouFest 2015 tickets Sept. 12-13. Whether it be waiting for Ludacris or for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, with over 30 different bands and 19 different food vendors, LouFest brought St. Louis together.

Headliners this year included Hozier and The Avett Brothers, while smaller performers like Misterwives and Milo Greene worked the stages. Food vendors ranged from Naked Bacon to Strange Donuts.

“I went there planning not to eat [because I thought] it was going to be typical [overpriced] festival food,” Grant Trokey, senior, said. “But once we got there and saw what it was, we were eating constantly.”

On Saturday and Sunday the acts started at 1 p.m. and ended at 10 p.m., with 17 performances each day. Four stages were located in each corner of the park, with food stands in-between.

“Just being there around all the bands is great,” Kara Steele, junior, said. “Whether you’re eating food, listening to music or just sitting around, the atmosphere is the best part.” 

Festival of Nations

Tower Grove Park in St. Louis hosted a melting pot of its own: the annual Festival of Nations Aug. 29-30. Within two days, thousands of people from different countries, communities and cultures came together to share talent, food and companionship.

The festival featured over 70 booths filled with foods and items from around the world. Margaret Muiruri was part of the Kenyan booth at the festival. She travels back and forth from Kenya to America bringing items like necklaces and masks that were handmade by the parents and children of her village.

“[The money] goes back [to the parents and kids] and helps the with their school fees, supplies and food,” Muiruri said.

Muiruri sees Festival of Nations as a way to expose herself to new cultures. She learns about the different places she visits and the cultures she has experienced. When she makes it home, she shares her stories and pictures with the children in the village.

Chief Bokulaka has performed for The Festival of Nations for three years now. Bokulaka grew up in the African Republic of Congo and began performing with his father at the age of 8. He has traveled the world with multiple African performers and has since made a business in St. Louis sharing his culture by teaching the art of drum and dance. He has been featured on Fox News performing his drums and promoting the festival.

“The festival is good because it’s not about the type of place people come from,” Bokulaka said. “We’re all one.”

Vivian Kutheis, junior, attended the Festival of Nations for her second year in a row. She spent the weekend tasting different kinds of ethnic foods including stir-fry and crab rangoon from the Chinese food booth and interacting with the African dancers.

“Everyone there was trying to get you to try new things,” Kutheis said. “We were able to just dive into it.”