STARKS — The hill at Harry Brown’s farm will come alive with music, giant puppets, belly dancing and fire twirling for three days during the Be Here Now Festival, Aug. 14 -16.

Organizers hope to build on the success of Harry Hoe-Down, the first festival held on the site this season, where thousands of people braved the late-June rains to bring to life Brown’s vision of “free people assembling freely.”

An icon of Maine’s counter-culture, Brown has been hosting festivals on his land for 19 years to support efforts to legalize marijuana in Maine.

This season’s festivals, though, are a realization of a larger vision of events that celebrate free expression, cultural diversity, individual freedom and respect for the Earth.

“From a healing tent staffed by herbalists and body-workers to a solar powered stage to a lineup that intersperses bluegrass with traditional West African music, these festivals embody a vibrant and creative vision of ‘the way life should be,’ ” said Jonathan Leavitt of Cowpasture Productions, a collective of artists and activists partnering with Brown and his family to organize the festivals.

The Be Here Now festival will feature performances by the following:

— Black Bear Moon, an ensemble that brings the infectious rhythms of traditional West African music to New England.

— Penpa Tsering, a world-class musician, singer and dancer, born in Tibet in 1963. He undertook an arduous 27-day trek over the Himalayas to Nepal. In 1989, he went to India where he was invited to join the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Tsering now lives in the United States. His presentation includes performances on 16 different traditional instruments, dance demonstrations and explanations of Tibetan philosophy and religion.

— Natraj seamlessly melds the classical music of India, traditional music from West Africa and contemporary jazz. Also performing will be Senegalese percussion master Lamine Toure.

— Trailer Trash, featuring Paul Dube on acoustic guitar and vocals and Ellen Lindsey on upright bass, blends country, blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll.

— The Brew is an innovative quartet with infectious grooves rooted in classic rock and seasoned with prog, jazz, reggae, world beat, indie, funk and orchestral pop.

— Hot Day at the Zoo, rising stars in the roots music revival, is a four-piece string band that delivers foot-stomping down-home jams.

— Trash Into Art is a community collective founded by multimedia performance artist Rijah Newll that uses giant puppets in energetic, street theater pieces that promote environmental awareness.

— One World Puppetry brings mystical creatures to life.

— ResistDance is a dance troupe whose original performances help people connect with their history and hopes, and challenges them to create something different in the world.

— Starma Circus is a troupe of clowns, jugglers and acrobats that brings circus arts to the stage.

Other performers include Lazzlo, Jordan Kaulbach and the Stoned Mountain Boyz.

Cowpasture Productions is run by the same group of organizers that gathered 80,000 signatures in a successful campaign to place an initiative on the ballot in Maine this November that would provide qualified patients with safe and reliable access to medical marijuana.

For more information or tickets, visit www.harryshill.com or www.mainecommonsense.org; or call 333-6985.


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