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For peace

More than 30 local and regional musicians unite this weekend for the sake of promoting peace. The fifth annual Peace Village Festival will be from noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 20, and from noon to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at Jackson WellSprings, 2253 Highway 99, Ashland.

"The event is dedicated to peace, sustainability, community and relocalization — the idea of bringing it back to a village model of community and economy," says Larry Morningstar, founder and producer of the festival.

The weekend is broken down by genres: Kirtan and sacred music will be featured Friday, followed Saturday with rock, blues and folk and Sunday with reggae, rock and hip-hop.

The participating musicians were selected based on their individual efforts to promote peace through their music or civic undertakings.

"We chose the best musicians out of the Rogue Valley — our favorites — and brought a few from out of town," says Morningstar.

Friday predominantly highlights female groups, including headliners Donna De Lory and Jaya Lakshmi with Ananda. For six years, De Lory toured as a backup dancer and singer for Madonna. Her most recent solo recording, "Sanctuary" (2009), is inspired by Western pop, Indian devotional music, Sanskrit mantras, North African grooves and psychedelic arrangements. Eugene's Jaya Lakshmi will present spiritual songs to harmonium and 12-string guitar.

Acoustic guitarist Alice Di Micele, Hawkeye Herman and Sarah Jane Nelson and The Human Revolution, featuring politically, socially and ecologically charged songs, will headline Saturday.

An Ashland-based musician, Herman is more on the road than off. The acoustic guitarist has spent the past 40 years touring throughout the United States, South America and Europe. He served for several years on the board of directors for the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn., and often is recognized as the composer, musical director and musician for the play "El Paso Blues," which has had successful runs all over the country.

For the festival, Herman will accompany vocalist Sarah Jane Nelson, a former Broadway performer now under contract with Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Sunday's lineup will showcase more local performers, including folk singer and songwriter Michelle Bellamy, soul, funk and reggae multi-instrumentalist Frankie Hernandez and reggae and roots band Synrgy.

Along with music, the festival offers kid-friendly activities, artisan booths, speakers, vegetarian fare, workshops for massage, yoga and dance and a healing sanctuary, where visitors can sample various modalities.

All concerts before 5:30 p.m. Friday are free. Advanced tickets are $15 dollars per day or $40 for a weekend pass and are available at Jackson WellSprings, Music Coop or Hemporium in Ashland and Bad Ass Coffee in Medford. Tickets will be $20 per day or $45 for the weekend pass at the door.

There will be late-night after-parties beginning at 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets to the parties, which include additional performances, are $10.

See www.peacevillagefestival.org or call 541-201-8787.

After touring as Madonna's sidekick, Donna De Lory left the mainstream music scene to explore a career as a solo artist. Her meditative music is both earthy and sensual. - www.donnadelory.com