To celebrate Free Tibet's 30th anniversary, we are hosting the first ever London Tibetfest! A weekend-long celebration of Tibetan culture, history and activism.
The festival brings together a wide range of content, covering many different aspects of the Tibetan story. We are very excited to welcome our special guests, monks from the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monastery, who will be opening our festival with a beautiful ritual before creating an intricate 'Compassion Buddha Mandala'.
There will be educational displays on Tibet's history and political situation, art exhibitions, campaigning activities, and stalls selling Free Tibet merchandise and Tibetan products made by refugees in Dharamsala, India.
We also have an events schedule full of talks, arts & crafts, live music, dance and various workshops and classes (see further down the page for details).
One £10 ticket gets you access to the entire weekend, including all the workshops and talks. (Kids 12 and under are free).
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Our very special guests
We are honoured to announce that we will be blessed by the presence of six Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monastery. These monks, exiled from Tibet and practising in South India, will be with us for the whole festival creating an intricate sacred sand mandala and performing various ceremonies and blessings.
The monks are on tour in the UK to raise awareness of ancient Tibetan culture and traditions, to share their blessings spreading loving kindness and compassion and engage with communities around the globe to promote world peace.
They will start the weekend by conducting an opening ceremony with multiphonic chanting and prayers. Then, throughout the festival, they will be demonstrating various cultural and monastic activities and rituals. Check out the schedule below for some of the great events they will be putting on.
The monks will also have very limited space to do personal blessings or Tibetan Astrology readings (for a small donation). If you would like to book in for one of these exclusive consultations, make sure you arrive early so that you can reserve your spot with them.
The Sand Mandala
Over the course of the entire weekend (when they aren't busy teaching or performing), the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen monks will be building a sacred sand mandala. Of all the artistic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, that of painting with coloured sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. In Tibet this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which literally means “mandala of coloured powders.” Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days, or sometimes weeks.
A 'Compassion Buddha Mandala' will be created at our festival which is infused with the intention of promoting peace and spreading love and kindness. Once the mandala has been completed the healing process is fulfilled when the sand is swept away and half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of moving water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.
The sweeping away of the mandala also stands as a metaphor of impermanence, key to the Buddhist teaching and practice.
The events schedule
Here are some of the confirmed events so far (with more on the way):
11:00 - Opening Ceremony with multiphonic chanting by the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monks
13:30 - Traditional Tibetan Circle Dancing
16:30 - Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monks Demonstrate their Traditional Debating Techniques
17:30 - Contemporary acoustic music with Siân Fawcett
20:30 - Dancing and Tibetan Music
Classes & Workshops
12:00 - Introduction to Mindfullness for Stress Reduction
13:00 - Mind & Body Balance Yoga with Natalie (bring your own mat if you have one)
16:00 - Talk: Tibetan Art with Uygen
17:00 - Introduction to Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Hanna (bring your own mat if you have one)
18:00 - Talk: Tibetan Filmmaking with Sonam
13:30 - Footprints Jazz Quartet
15:45 - Black Hat Dance Performed by the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monks
16:00 - Traditional Tibetan Circle Dancing
17:00 - Closing Ceremony by the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monks
Classes & Workshops
12:00 - Talk: A History of Tibetan Resistance with Eleanor
13:00 - Talk: The Tibetan Community UK with Pempa
14:00 - Tsok Puja (offering ritual) with the Gaden Ngari Khangtsen Monks
*Please note that this is a preliminary schedule and is subject to change.
Get your tickets
Tickets are available now and are just £10 per person, which gets you access to the entire weekend's schedule, including all the classes and workshops. Please keep in mind that some of these events will have limited space and may fill up, so please try to arrive early for the events if you don't want to miss out. Upon first arrival you will be given a wristband at the door which will allow you to leave and re-enter the venue as you wish throughout the festival.
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Please note that there will be no physical tickets issued. You will be added to a guest list under the name of the person who purchased your tickets. Simply quote the purchasers name at the door to receive your wristband.