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3 May 2013

Costa Rica’s Rain Fest offers taste of country’s music, culture

For students, opportunities to enjoy live music tend to be limited to local events. But, Rain Fest wants to change that.

Rain Fest is a music and arts festival held at Costa Rica’s Hotel Punta Leona from Friday through Sunday. The festival, which is in its third year, focuses on the rich, life-loving society of Costa Rica, while simultaneously  promoting ecological and cultural awareness.

“You’ll experience the food, you’ll help out the communities, and just do a lot more to where you’re not so separated from the actual country,” UM alumnus Markeem Middleton said.

Middleton, promoter of this year’s festival, has experienced Rain Fest not just as a participant, but also as a performer. He performed there the past two years with his band, Keem + the Go-Getters.

The festival allows hotel guests opportunities to do community outreach with the schools and beaches as well as participate in a night walk through the Costa Rican forest.

As the name would imply, the main focus of the festival is to celebrate the rain. It marks the start of the rainy season, which, Middleton pointed out, is sometimes viewed with dread. However, the festival urges people to appreciate the life-giving effects of the rain and all its ecological benefits.

“We’re going to essentially dance in the rain and not let it bring us down,” said Middleton, who fell in love with the country after his first year performing at Rain Fest. He also explained the Costa Rican concept of Pura Vida, or pure life, which is a main staple of the country’s life-loving mindset and a cornerstone of the festival.

Charles Watson, who performed with Middleton, stressed the immense impact such an experience would have on UM students, pointing out that “it offers a real-world perspective to what may only have been studied in a classroom.” Particularly in such an environmentally tumultuous period as this one, it is important to take time to study and support the world around us.

According to Middleton, this year’s festival is focused more on Costa Rica and the country’s culture, but that in the future, the program’s creator and FIU alumnus, Boris Gordienko, hopes to expand the cultural exchange, particularly with colleges such as UM, creating hotel and airfare packages to make it easier for students to come and experience the festival.

Rain Fest is an opportunity to experience not only great music and art, but also a new culture. It supplies a different perspective on life and will help participants gain respect for the environment and a deep understanding of what Pura Vida truly means.

For more information on Rain Fest, check out Middleton’s blog, road2rainfest.com.