Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Traveling Bonfires is an Asheville (North Carolina)-based organization that advocates community connectedness, dovetailed on cultural diversity and a global worldview on peace. The Bonfires’ centerpiece program is the “Bonfires for Peace” series of free concert events—which finds home in downtown Asheville’s Pritchard Park from 2003 to date, gathering a multitude of musical acts and performers from all over the US on a relentless spring to fall calendar. Through the organization’s “Vagrant Wind” and “Wander Women” subprograms, The Bonfires also continually produces small-venue shows and gigs—eg poetry readings, dance recitals, filmshowings, art exhibitions, lectures and talks, and other artist presentations.
Formed in the Cordillera mountains of northern Philippines in mid-1980s by journalist-poet Pasckie Pascua, The Bonfires made the rounds of Manila’s prominent performance venues, campus gatherings and people’s convergences for almost two decades, until the organization moved (with Pascua) to New York City in 1998, where it remained active mostly in downtown Manhattan for three years.
Brought forth by the tragedy of 9/11, The Bonfires (again) relocated to another city—Asheville, North Carolina—in late 2001 (where it remains to date). A two-year sojourn took place in Southern California when Pascua (with longtime administrative associate Marta Osborne) found employment in Los Angeles at the height of the country’s economic downturn. From fall of 2007 to end of 2009’s summer, The Bonfires continually organized shows in Long Beach, Echo Park in LA, and Orange County—including a “Bonfires for Peace” event each in Huntington Beach (fall, 2008) and San Francisco (summer, 2009). [Details on “History and other Stories”]
The Bonfires’ peaceful communal vibe has spread, as well, in other cities and states (aside from North/South Carolina, New York, and California), where “Bonfires for Peace” and “Vagrant Wind” events and shows were held in collaboration with local organizations and artists/musicians: Baltimore (Fells Point and Hampden), Jersey City, and Washington DC (Adams Morgan).
The Traveling Bonfires is also very active in the Philipppines’ major cities of Manila and Baguio—under the leadership of Donna Phoebe Pascua (regional director) and Lorna Campilan (associate director/line producer). TBonfires-Philippines works closely with various international and national humanitarian organizations, notably the Association Compassion Asian Youth/Missionaries of Mary, DESAPARECIDOS (families of victims of involuntary disappearances), breast cancer patients, and tyhoon/calamity refugees. [Details on “SALENG: Traveling Bonfires in the Philippines”]

[PHOTO above: Paul DeCirce and his band, Peace Jones, in a "Bonfires for Peace" concert at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, 2005]

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