About the Free Spirit Festival
Like all world cultures, contemporary Tibetan culture is not a static, fixed entity but is a vibrant and ever-changing flow of energy. For Tibet, the strongest cultural influences have come from China, India, Mongolia, Nepal and Kashmir. The amalgamation of these cultural influences has evolved to form today's unique Tibetan culture. The Free Spirit Festival is therefore a celebration of Tibetan art and culture, especially reflecting contemporary life.
The festival is specifically designed to show the talents from the younger generation of Tibetans, through an array of artistic expressions such as photography, painting, sculpture, information technology, music, fashion designing, and other creative arts.
Another important aspect of the festival is the focus on the vanishing aspects of Tibetan culture. For example the art of the Lama Mani, a religious storyteller. The last of the Lama Manis in exile passed away this year, and the festival organiser is currently researching whether there are any existing Lama Manis still living in Tibet, or if this is an art form which has already passed into history.
In 2002, the festival incorporated the Miss Tibet Pageant, which has now become an independent annual event. In 2003, it incorporated the Tibetan Music Awards, which is held every two years.
The 2004 festival included the Tibetan Film Festival, which was again, a first of its kind. This later also became an independent event, as the Free Spirit Film Festival.
Under the banner of Lobsang Wangyal Productions, Lobsang Wangyal started the Free Spirit Festival due to his interest in art, but more importantly sensing a need to showcase the evolving and changing life styles and cultural aspects of Tibetans in contemporary times. He has been funding the festival himself since its inception in 2000. He is grateful to the additional people who have showed support for the festival in the form of donations. It is due to the hard work and commitment of his team members, who have been zealously working with him on a volunteer basis, that the production has been so successful over the years, and continues to grow and develop year by year.