Though Santa Barbara’s Dancing Drum has been alive and kickin’ (or beatin’) for nearly seven years, this month marks the organization’s first official Drum Day celebration. Started back in 2002 by fellow artists Steve Campbell and Lindsay Rust, Dancing Drum now works to connect kids and adults through the “universal language of rhythm.” And Drum’s workshops, performances, classes, youth outreach programs, and special events focus just as much on music as they do on cultural and environmental education. In fact, the organization even has their own signature line of sustainable drum stands, djembes, and djun-djuns. This Saturday, March 21, Dancing Drum will host the first annual Santa Barbara Drum Day at the Carillo Recreation Center (100 E. Carillo St.) for kids and adults of all ages and experience levels. The celebration starts at 12:30 p.m. and is free to the public. Visit for info, and read on for a few of the many things this year’s Drum Day has to offer.

1) Famous Faces: While both Campbell and Rust will be on hand for the festivities, Drum Day offers plenty of additional performances (including a 200-plus person drum circle) to those who come out. Alongside a collection of surprise guests, Grammy winner Luis Conte will be on hand to show off his chops. Conte, best known for his work with such big-name recording artists as Madonna, James Taylor, and Phil Collins, will dish out an extra special solo concert.

2) For the Kids: In addition to all the hands-on drumming action of Saturday’s festivities, Dancing Drum will also host a free Drum Day for Youth the Friday prior. From 12:45 to 1:45 p.m., the Rec Cen will open its doors to five Santa Barbara schools. Students will perform an hour of rhythms based on the beats of African, Latin, and hip-hop music. Those interested in attending should call 682-8250.

3) Positive Vibes: Carrying on with the organization’s education-centric goals, Drum Day will also help to raise funds to buy music equipment for a school in New Orleans. Throughout the day, raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the event, and prizes include everything from maracas and drum sticks an 11-inch djembe. Later this spring, the money raised will be hand delivered to G.W. Carver School, located in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, in conjunction with Dancing Drum’s week-long artist-in-residency program there. Talk about good vibrations.


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