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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Earthdance the largest synchronized dance returns to Lakeland

The world’s largest synchronized dance event makes its return to Maddox Ranch in Lakeland this weekend.

Now in its fourth year, Earthdance Florida is one of more than 300 locations worldwide participating in a global peace party Thursday through Sunday.

Started in 1997 by London-based musician Chris Deckker, Earthdance aims to create peace through music, dancing and international participation. Central to its vision is the synchronized “global link-up” and “Prayer for Peace.”

Earthdance Florida will begin its prayer at 7 p.m. Saturday, synchronized with locations throughout the globe.

The event will feature mystical art galleries, workshops and two music stages.

Earthdance Florida will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Salvation Army George W. Jenkins Community of Hope, which provides transitional housing for homeless families in Lakeland and Polk County.

Musical acts will include drum-and-bass originator Aphrodite, electronica artists Govinda, Phutureprimitive, Random Rab and more than 75 other acts, including several local artists.

Paul Hunt, known by his stage name, Illterror, is among those local acts. Hunt has performed at two previous Earthdances and said he enjoys being able to perform outside and camp out for the weekend — a welcome change from the club gigs he typically performs at.

“I’m excited there (are) more bands playing and (a) more diverse line-up (than) years past,” Hunt wrote in an email. “I have a ton of friends playing so I’m excited to see them perform.”

Tickets are available at the gate for $110 through Friday, including the cost of camping. Prices drop to $80 on Saturday and then $20 on Sunday.

Tents and camping gear are available to rent at the venue.

Matt and Belinda Pettinato, of Controlled Chaos Productions LLC, started Earthdance Florida in 2009 in Plant City. They moved it to Sarasota in 2010 and finally settled into their home at Maddox Ranch in Lakeland in 2011.

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Pettinato said the “Prayer for Peace” inspired her and her partner to bring the Earthdance experience to Florida.

“Sharing the same prayer with over 100,000 people at the same moment touched my heart,” Pettinato said.

Pettinato said Earthdance differs from other music festivals because of the involvement of the attendees.

“You’re not just there to stare at a stage,” she said. “You’re there to co-create together.”

She hopes attendees will take something away when they leave the festival.

“I want them to be inspired, to fill their hearts with love and inspiration and to bring it home and share it with everyone,” Pettinato said.

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 9/19/2014 under the headline "Largest synchronized dance, Earthdance, returns to Lakeland"]

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