Beyond Borders: A taste of the world comes to Longbranch


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PJ Callahan, Special to the KP News

A multicultural music event is coming back to Longbranch on Aug. 2, bringing to the Key Peninsula international music, food, art and more.

The festival brings international culture to the Key Peninsula for the second year. Photo courtesy Mark Runions

Beyond the Borders, the creation of Mark Runions, a Longbranch resident, was an “idea that took flight” last year when Runions and several members of Two Waters Arts Alliance began brainstorming ideas for a fun, family-oriented summer event celebrating the arts.

Initially Runions began by simply thinking about what he would like to see on the Key Peninsula. His first thought was a “multicultural music event with something out of the ordinary.” The art and food components came later, as the LIC and Two Waters began to put together a plan. Carolyn Wiley, events chair of the LIC, was also instrumental in formulating the plan and coordinating the event.

The goal was to put together an international flavored event with good music from around the world, art and food, and to “expose the local community to wider variety of art and entertainment.” Grants from the Angel Guild and the Geneva Foundation made a free event possible.

When asked about the biggest challenge the group faced in putting the event together last year, Runions said getting quality bands to drive to this locale for one-hour sets for less than their normal fee was a balancing act. “Fortunately, we were able to negotiate here and there until we could meet the budget and make it work,” he said. “I really appreciate the groups that recognized our budget constraints and helped make it doable.”

Soliciting volunteers and having no track record for the event were the biggest challenges. “We needed to make it sound appealing. We wanted to create a free event that offered music, art and food to our community and would be attractive for families. For this area, we knew it had to be free.”

Organizers said last year’s event drew a good crowd, and everyone enjoyed the food and the music. The beer garden was also a popular hangout for adults because they could see and hear the musical acts.

“The drummers kept things moving during the breaks, the food was great and we all seemed to sense that something special was happening,” Runions said. “It helped keep alive the spirit I got involved with over 20 years ago with some Key Peninsula arts activists. It created a kind of post-Woodstock feeling by exposing musicians and artists in a low-key way without commercialization.”

This year’s event builds upon last year’s success, with additional volunteer help, more tents for shade, and more.  “This event offers the tastes, sights and sounds of the world without a plane ticket or passport,” Runions said.

PJ Callahan is a volunteer webmaster and graphic designer for the TWAA Events Committee.


Beyond Borders details

The free festival is sponsored by the Two Waters Arts Alliance, the Longbranch Improvement Club and the Angel Guild, and takes place on Aug. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. at the LIC, Key Peninsula Hwy. S., in Longbranch. The four main acts are: Mooncoyne(Irish/Celtic), Leif Tutusek and Lora Chiora (Zimbabwe-Shona song and dance), Ancient Music (multicultural instrumental) and Abráce (multilingual vocal and percussion), as well as “Rhythm Intermission” in between those acts. The event will feature an art show in the gym, a beer and wine garden, international food and desserts from the LIC kitchen.

TWAA will gather a list of volunteers but anyone who wants to jump in and help is welcome to drop in Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon for the “crunch time.” For more information or to volunteer, contact Mark Runions at 884-4807 or visit[/box]