A Look Back at the First World Culture Fest in Bengaluru, India 2006

World Culture Festival Bengaluru

From the 17th to the 19th of February 2006, the world witnessed Art of Living’s very first World Culture Festival (WCF), also known as the Silver Jubilee Celebrations. Borders faded as millions came together from over 150 countries to experience and celebrate His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message. 

From erecting the world’s largest stage of 3.5 acres (until WCF 2016, when the stage was seven acres) to managing the 243 acres of ground at Jakkar airfield, a team of 20,000 volunteers put together a sensational three-day event. 

For the first time in the history of Indian music, a gathering of more than 3800 musicians from all over South India was brought together for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations. An orchestra of classical Karnatik music came on stage and played a full symphony. There were 770 veenas, 782 violins, 750 flutes, and 150 guitars, among many other instruments.

International music and dance presentations also took place, from countries like Switzerland, Pakistan, many parts of India, the United States, Australia, China, Japan, and elsewhere. 2.5 million people sang along to songs as though it were an intimate gathering. For the first time in history, 2.5 million people meditated in absolute silence for global peace and harmony.

To learn more, keep reading.

Some of the Messages from World Leaders

World Leader

H.E.T.N. Chaturvedi

Governor of Karnataka

“His message is vibrant and a living one, which really is focused not only on the individual but on every man and woman in this world.”

Ms. Rukina Irina Mikhailovna

Member of Parliament, Moscow

“You have visited so many countries worldwide, but today, the world came to you.”

Rabbi Awaraham Soetendorp

Liberal Jewish Community International

The Netherlands

“The peace that you have given to us will flow to all the corners of the earth. The flow of peace is unstoppable.”

Monika Griefahn

Representative of the German Government

“I think you, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, you have really made it and brought the people together, without indoctrination, and without any kind of dictatorship. That’s what we honor you for.”

Mr. Filip Dewinter

Member of Parliament, Belgium

“It appears to me very seldom that so many people from such a number of countries, cultures, and civilizations, gather to reflect on the future of the world community in harmony.”

H.E. Dr. Janez Drnovsek

The President of the Republic of Slovenia 

“I want to congratulate the Art of Living Foundation, and His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for what he and his foundation have done for the last 25 years.”

Hon. Dr. Mantonbazana Tshabalala-Msinang

Minister of Health, South Africa 

“The world is looking forward to the next 25 years of your existence. And continue with the wonderful work you are doing in various parts of the world, including my country.”

HH Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharanath Mahaswamiji

Adi Chunchunagiri Math

“This effort of Sri Sri’s, to bring the whole world together, is unique and miraculous.”

Jatjedar Joginder Singh Vedanti

Jathedar Akal Takht

“I have full faith that the Art of Living will be playing an important role in bringing peace, harmony, and human values through this program.”

Swami Chidananda Saraswati

Paramarth Ashram Rishikesh

“What a powerful moment. And we can see the power of love, the power of peace. We can see the whole world here today. And only, the whole world is here today because of his love, because of his divine teachings of peace and harmony.”

Swami Ramdevji

Founder, Divyayogmandir Trust

“He has taken Indian culture, spirituality, and knowledge beyond the boundaries of our country to the whole world, to the one who is shining like the sun and is bringing peace and blessings to the whole world. On this holy occasion, I offer my heartfelt greetings, and I wish him all the success in his endeavor to create a divine society.”

Rev Dr. Bernard Moras

Archbishop Bengaluru

“On behalf of the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, I wish this seminar all success, and pray that this event will contribute greatly toward ushering in a new humanity.”

Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Arsha Vidya Peetam

“To embrace the world, to embrace all religions, discover love for yourself. This is the message of Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji.”

Sri Sri Sri Shivaratri Desnikendra Mana

Sri Sutur Math

“This is a historic and unprecedented occasion, which everyone will remember very well.”

Maulana Hassim Siddique

Muslim Fund Trust Deoband

“In an age where there is so much misunderstanding in the name of religion, this is perhaps the first opportunity for religious leaders of all faiths to get together on one platform to charter a way to harmony and peace.”

Art of Living Programs and Awards

Art of Living program

Featured Programs

Day Two Awards

  • Mongolian Prime Minister’s Award for contribution to humanity and social upliftment
  • Award for peace and harmony in Mizoram, Governor of Mizoram

Invitation to attend WCF 2023

WCF 2023

The importance of World Culture Festivals can’t be measured. After I attended this event in 2006, I felt like a whole new person with a new perspective on my own potential for cultural contributions. 

When we see the immensity and vibrant diversity of humanity in one place, we realize we’re part of something bigger than our everyday lives. It’s a reminder to go back to our normal routines with inspiration, belongingness, and joyful celebration of cultures, languages, and peaceful forms of expression.

This year, the World Culture Festival is in our own “backyard” at the National Mall in Washington DC. Renew, groove, dance, sing, and connect with millions of people who long for more unity and less division.

This WCF will feature performances from 17,000 GLOBAL ARTISTS FROM ALL CULTURAL TRADITIONS

  • 1,000+ Guitar Ensemble
  • 1,000+ Gospel Choir
  • 10,000 Garba Dancers
  • 200+ Ukrainian Performers
  • 200+ Latin Dancers
  • 200+ Hip Hop Dancers
  • 100+ Middle Eastern Dancers
  • 1,000 Indian Classical Performers
  • 100+ Native American Dancers
  • 250+ African Musician and Performers
  • 100+ Irish Step Dancers
  • 300+ Bulgarian Folk Dancers
  • 150+ Afghan Musicians and Dervishes

Plus off-stage activities

  • Youth Peace Summit
  • Morning Yoga for Blissful Life
  • Kid’s Corner- Fun and Games for Youngest Festival Goers
  • Mindful Oasis- Nourish Your Mental Well-being
  • Global Village- A Celebration of Global Cultures and Cuisines
  • The Ripple Effect- A Call to Action to Change Your Communities
  • Acoustic Avenue- Intimate Solo Performances by Local Musicians
  • Food Truck Bonanza- Over 80 Food Trucks

I hope to see you there at the National Mall at the end of September. Please join us and enjoy this amazing, diverse, artistic, and vibrant world!

The passes are free; just register at https://wcf.artofliving.org/