The mission of the Berkeley World Music Festival is to support and promote the local artist and performance arts, as well as cultivate artistic vibrancy and social value of the world music panorama for the benefit of local communities.
By fostering ethnic literacy, the Festival promotes diverse musical traditions and furthers the recognition of the Bay Area as a center for world music and artistic expression.
Berkeley World Music Festival started out as an internationally themed block party (1999 – 2001) by community folk, brought together by the Telegraph Area Association (TAA). They wanted to celebrate their colorful south campus neighborhood – a diverse crossroads of businesses, students, street artists, locals and visitors.
1st Berkeley World Music Weekend Festival - 2004 In order to provide more exposure to the Telegraph Avenue district, the Festival transformed into and pioneered a weekend event with music offered in a variety of settings (in shops, balconies, and along the sidewalk) with no street closures.
5th Berkeley World Music (1-day) Festival 2008 After TAA dissolved, the City of Berkeley worked with TAA’s event planner to continue this popular free Festival. Without the support of TAA, we downsized to 1 day but reached out to the community. The City of Berkeley and Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID) continued core funding for this now independent artist-run event. Amoeba Music, Ashkenaz, Pagan Alliance and UC Berkeley respectively helped to expand our program through developing the featured People’s Park Concert, initiating the Ashkenaz After-Festival Party and piloting of the first (UC approved) crafts fair in People’s Park. Media promotion from KPFA and East Bay Express have continued to be invaluable.
11th Berkeley World Music Festival -2014 "Season" produced 2 Festivals with 3 days of programming: SUMMER: June 22 and FALL September 20 - 21, 2014 created a season. Summer & Fall Saturday program retained the Festival's signature multi-venue layout. At the invitation of the City of Berkeley, the Festival partnered with "Sundays on Telegraph" to provide the music programing for their season finale. The Festial thus took on a on a new direction - organizing it's first street fair featuring a main stage + palette of sidewalk-style music, street art, circus and visitor activities interspersed on the closed blocks of Telegraph between Dwight Way and Durant Avenue.
12th Berkeley World Music Festival - June 13, 2015. Back again to a one-day festival - still an amazing celebration of global unity through showcasing our Bay Area's visbrant multi-cultural music scene.
13th Berkeley World Music Festival returns to a two-day weekend festival, June 11-12, 2016 with an exciting line-up converging on Telegraph. John Santos is our first Afro-Latin Jazz headliner with full band & special guests. Trio Garufo is hosting an Argentine Flamenco milonga (dance hall party with tango dancers). You can meet Julia Chigamba at her vendors' booth, maybe buy a lyrical mbira, which the Shona people have been playing for a 1,000 years &/or dance along with her when she joins Sadza Marimba & Mbira Band. SonoMusete sound with French chanteuse is irresistable... Expect a memorable & fun music adventure throughout the weekend!