Festival Atitlán

The Festival Atitlán returns for its 9th year, once again celebrating springtime with music, dance, theatre, graphic art displays and workshops, plus a great kid section, and a promise of a beautiful day with family and friends outdoors on the shores of Lake Atitlán. As is the custom, the proceeds are donated to a local good works project. In the past, proceeds from the festival have benefited the Hospitalito Atitlán, the SIEMBRA cloud forest reserve Chaj Choj, the Atitlán cleanup committee and a stove project, to name just a few.

This year 100 percent of the proceeds will go to a local ecological educational and informational project that will concentrate on getting the word out to the nearby population about the cyanobacteria breakout that is threatening the health of Lake Atitlán. On the drawing board are educational cartoon-illustration books for adults who can’t read, ecologically-minded coloring books for kids, ecological material for the schools and an eco-programming schedule for local radio and television broadcasts in Tz’utuil, Kaqchikel and Spanish.

Once again, the roster of performers is quite impressive: festival participants include Iguanamanga (reggae), La Trova del Lago (trova nueva), Grupo Maya Tz’utujil (cofradía music), AjBatz (Kaqchikel rock), Marco Trio Electric (get down boogey), The LeRoy Mack Band (bluegrass), Naik Madera (New Age feminist), Kyla (Latin folklore), Zanates en Stereo (rock chapín), Pablo Robledo (soloist), Steve James (finger-picking guitar), MaF Saenz (soloist) Percush (percussion), Star Maya circus, Grupo Sotzil (Maya dancers), Cósmica de Guatemala … and even more groups soon to be announced. There will be an art gallery offering local paintings for sale that will also benefit this year’s good works recipient, as well as demonstrations: for instance, bring a T-shirt and have the festival logo silkscreened on it while you watch. Kids are definitely not left out … there are some great activities planned for them like flag painting, face painting, a small playground, storytelling and a mini-circus!.

The Festival Atitlán will be held in a beautiful pine forest outside of Santiago Atitlán. Organizers suggest that you plan to come and camp overnight. There will be plenty of security, and the night time jams around the campfire are legendary. If you need a hotel room, make a reservation early because the hotels will fill up. There will be plenty of good food and drink, and if you decide to bring your own, please remember that this is an ecological festival: there are no bottles allowed, and you are asked to avoid plastic. Food will be served on banana leaf and biodegradable plates, beer sold in cans will be recycled by local kids, planners are doing their best to keep the festival’s “footprint” as unobtrusive as possible.

This is undoubtedly the most interesting and eclectic alternative arts festival in Guatemala! Come and join in!

For more information and updates about the festival please visit

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