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World Fest

World Fest tours international musicians to Midwestern communities to foster an understanding of and appreciation for global uniqueness and differences.

Bird's eye view of many people on snow-covered ground surrounded by sidewalk and trees. The people are standing and circling around on person in the center, who is laying down and sprawled out in snow angel fashion.
Photo Credit: Jared Doran

About World Fest

World Fest is a performing arts residency program that tours world music ensembles to communities in the Midwest. For each World Fest season, we partner with one organization in each of the nine states we work in throughout the region, with a focus on rural communities.

Since World Fest’s inception in 2003, we have served more than 650,000 individuals, including 450,000 youth, through more than 280 public performances and 2,300+ educational events.

  • Present high-caliber, accessible international artists to small- or mid-sized Midwest communities;
  • Provide a multifaceted experience to community residents, particularly young people;
  • Integrate the artists and their music into a broader social, cultural, political, and historical framework;
  • Encourage young people to explore issues and understand concerns of diverse cultures; and
  • Create a lasting musical and cultural impact on participants.


By partnering with one organization in each of our nine states, Arts Midwest will bring international music ensembles to the following cities during our current cycle beginning in 2022:


A program of Arts Midwest, the 2024–2025 World Fest artist tours are generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Arts Midwest is also generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, Wisconsin Arts Board, 3M, and individual donors and partners. 


Past World Fest Artists

For nearly two decades, World Fest has brought internationally recognized musicians to the Midwest. These artists hail from Japan, Mexico, Israel, China, Somalia, Canada, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Norway, and many places in between.

Explore Past Artists

Anda Union, a band based in China who primarily specialize in khoomii (a traditional type of Mongolian overtone singing), pose in the middle of a mountain range, wearing vibrant shades of blue, purple, red, and green, holding various instruments.

Have questions about World Fest?

Want to learn more, or see your community get involved in the next World Fest season? We’re just an email or phone call away.

Email Katie Ortman