Brian Woodman Jr., Staff Writer
Bloomfield (CT) Journal
October 15, 2001
Lynne Woike, executive director for the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, said the Bloomfield Drum Festival conducted by the organization was a success despite inhospitable weather on Oct. 6.
People stood in the rain that morning with American flags and observed the parade of fire engines that opened the day, which Woike said was a new addition to the festival. Laura Soll, a publicist for the event, said about 40 departments were represented that day.
The event, conducted for the third year, showcases drummers and percussionists of various styles. Woike said the festival, which culminates in a massive drum circle each year, is an attempt to give Bloomfield a signature event based on multiculturalism.
Because of Bloomfield’s unique history as the home of the Brown Drum Company, which may have inspired the Drummer Boy Statue on the green, it was felt that percussion made an appropriate theme for the event. Also, percussion as a culturally universal means of expression seemed to match the town’s broad cultural demographic.
“We want to show Bloomfield in a good light,” said Woike. “We wanted to show people we are the face of the future.”
The variety of acts ranged from Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Drum and Dance and Insight, a Latin group, to Tom Callinan, who performed Celtic folk songs.
Among the familiar faces was Jaimoe, a Bloomfield resident and percussionist for the Allman Brothers Band, who with some friends performed a set of jazz that was removed from the Southern rock of Gregg Allman and company.
Soll particularly expressed pride over the drum circle led by Babatunde Olatunji, “the father of drum circles.” He traveled from out of state, as did several others. “People traveled from as far away as New York, Rhode Island and Vermont,” Soll said.
Other groups included the Reggae band Crucial Massive, the Moodus Fife and Drum Corps, the African drum-and-dance group Fotoba, the period group Rob the Drummer and the Rhythm Rangers, the South American-flavored Inka Antares and the Prince of the Andes, the Hartford Klezmer Band, Tony Harrington and Touch, the Praises of Zion Gospel Choir, the Hartford Steel Symphony and Ajali, of Trinidad.
Bob Bloom conducted an interactive drum activity with members of the audience.
Woike noted the event attracted more vendors and merchants this year than before.