Bloomington for Big Events

COMEDY IS KING IN BLOOMINGTON

In early June, the Limestone Comedy Festival attracts big crowds with national names (think Janeane Garofalo and SNL’s Michael Che). The three-day showcase takes place at four venues, including The Comedy Attic, which Amy Schumer deemed “one of the best 10 comedy clubs in America.”

GLOBAL GROOVES AT LOTUS WORLD MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL

Ethiopian jazz, Estonian violin, Polish pop. Only a few of the global sounds being offered at this 22-year-old outdoor celebration in mid-September. The festival has played host to artists from 119 different countries, packing the streets with a crowd of over 12,000 each year.

WORLD-CLASS FILM EXPERIENCE AT IU CINEMA

Screening more than 120 titles a semester, the IU Cinema offers a world-class film experience for students, locals and visitors. The Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series brings in scores of visiting filmmakers and scholars like The New Yorker’s Richard Brody.

OUT IN THE OPEN

Bloomington’s politically open culture and its rolling landscapes are fueling a recent influx of LGBTQ weddings, as is the popularity of the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival. Same-sex couples cite the town’s unique interfaith venues and long history of inclusivity as key to decision.

INDIE MUSIC SCENE BLOSSOMS IN BLOOMINGTON

Bloomington has long served as an under-the-radar incubator for musicians and record labels. Take a tour of its best indie venues: Bluebird, a small concert space with a robust lineup; The Bishop, where bands come just before they make it big; and Blockhouse Bloomington, a back-alley music venue and theater combo that’s literally underground.
 

AT THIS FILM FEST, MIDWEST IS BEST

The Middle Coast Film Festival, a two-day summer event, is challenging the idea that premiere features and shorts (like the groundbreaking film Tangerine and the SXSW feature I Dream Too Much) are better suited to the coasts.