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Saturday Night Crowd
Gilded Serpent presents...
The First (and definately not the last!) Tribal Cafe!

Tribal Cafe was organized by Rachel Lazarus Soto and Politti Ashcraft, with the support and financial backing of the Inland Empire Chapter of MECDA (Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association). It was the first all tribal belly dance event sponsored by MECDA IE and took place on August 21st, 2004 in Montclair, California.

I had been excited about this event ever since I heard about it, and was put to the task of designing the postcard for it way back before Tribal Fest 4. Finally, the weekend was upon us, and my husband Keith and I packed up the van, picked up Alexis Yael at San Francisco Airport (just in from Canada, and lucky enough that her husband’s business trip was scheduled the same time as the event), and the three of us headed down to Southern California.

To celebrate and bring the folks that could arrive early together, a pre-party event was organized at Babylon Restaurant in Riverside, California the evening prior. The main event was to take place outside on their Mediterranean style patio, and the turnout was quite favorable! And despite issues with spacing and service, once the dancing got started, spirits were high! Performers included: Atash Maya (San Diego, CA), Lotus (Bay Area, CA), Domba! (Tempe, AZ), Frederique (Bay Area, CA) and Zanbaka (Seattle,WA). Everyone left geared up and excited for the next morning! The day started off cool and overcast, which was a relief to us Northern California folks, who were expecting really hot and dry Southern Cal weather. Although the locals said, just wait until the fog burns off---when the sun finally did show, it was a beautiful, just-right day—creating the perfect setting for this boisterous, community event!

A variety of vendors blossomed up all over the sprawling venue, indoors and outside both in front and in back—and not just local folks either! Tribal To the Max was in from Montana, Creatrix Designs and Melodia’s Pants were up from San Diego, Bali Isle from San Luis Opispo, Phoenix Rising from Santa Rosa, Lunatic Fringe from Sunnyvale, and Nomadia to name just a few!


Not only was the wares available something to behold, but the Inland Empire Chapter had organized a fantastic assortment of workshops, many of which were sold out prior to the event. The workshop leaders included Rachel Brice, Frederique, Zanbaka, Lorraine of Subee Djinn, Meera, Zahreen, and Domba! There was a wide variety of topics reflecting the diversity of Tribal Dance, including Yoga for Belly Dance, Indian Dance, African Dance, Urban Styling, Flamenco Influences, and other technique classes.

Performances were also scheduled to run the course of the day, and again, the diversity and beauty was amazing. Over 25 dancers and troupes took the stage, and the spectator area was standing room only for most of the day!

After the event, there was a post-party event back at Babylon, where amazing performers took the stage once again, including Devadasi with LIVE music by Solikk (Inland Empire, CA), Shawna of Natya Hara (Sacramento, CA), Frederique, Kami (Reno, NV) and Rachel Brice (San Francisco, CA). After two solid weeks of shows, Keith and I were too worn out to attend, but the general consensus was it was “the best party EVER.” Well, it can definitely said and noted that all together, these tribal folks know how to put on a great event!


Rachel Lazarus Soto passed along to me the following details:
Workshop and performer check-in procedures have been revised to be more stream-lined next year. We are looking for a new location that will be a bit more comfortable: larger stage, larger classrooms, etc.

Dates for next year are tentatively October 1 and 2. Two days of workshops, vending, and performances by your favorite artists!

A little over $3000 was raised for the women's shelters at the Tribal Cafe.

The Inland Empire chapter donates annually to local women's shelters and also roll over the funds to support their annual Student Recital and Festival of Dancing Colors. Coming up is Festival of Dancing Colors, Sept 18, with an amazing Gala Show.This year’s event will benefit the family of Brandi Wellborn of Devadasi, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in July. There will be a silent auction of items, all day performances, vendors, workshops and the evening Gala Show, Silk Road Stories. Next year, Festival of Dancing Colors will be in April and will have an African theme!

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