By Manu dasa
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
In just a few short weeks we will begin traveling around North America with 50 youth who have come together from around the world, to travel to the Ratha-yatra festivals to help set up, perform kirtanas, dramas, dances, and help take down the festivals. Plus, the youth will be putting on 17 festivals at theaters and university auditoriums in cities along the way. Please pray for us and give us your blessings. We hope to see you at one of the festivals.
This will be our 14th year of the festival tour.
Please watch the online video of last year’s tour (it’s only 14 minutes short):
Photos of the past tours:
As some of you know, for the past two years we’ve been trying to upgrade our men’s school bus to a motor coach so that we can better serve ISKCON North America during the summer and winter festival seasons. We are still looking for people to help with this bus upgrade. Our buses were purchased used five years ago and are now 15 and 9 years old, breaking down more and more frequently, making it increasingly difficult to be at festivals, university and theater preaching propgrams on time. For example, during the winter tour we missed two important programs in Mexico due to a break down with the school bus. These are not the kind of festivals where if we don’t show up, the festival goes on without us. We had arranged the festival. We were the festival. The youth traveling on our bus had organized the festivals at yoga studios around Mexico, and their kirtana and dance performances, as well as their bus kitchen and prasadam distribution effort, WERE the festival. So the guests were told on short notice that these two consecutive festivals in San Luis Potosi and in Mexico City were canceled due to us being stuck on the side of the road for
24 hours, a day’s drive away. The yoga teacher organizers were very disappointed that their many months (and our many months) of organizing, advertising, etc, were spent in vain.
Most importantly, with the constant rise in fuel prices, the school bus we currently use to transport the men is not large enough. We can only fit 18 devotees on the school bus, with bunk beds, compared to 33 devotees on the MCI coach. Motor coaches are built for cross-country travel, have luggage bays, and are wider than school buses, allowing for much more living space on board to make nine weeks on the road more tolerable. Many older devotees and swamis have said they would come and travel with us if we had better facility. Now is the time to upgrade.
It costs $96,000 to put on the Krishna Culture Festival Tour with two buses and 50 youth, traveling for nine weeks, 17,000 miles, 24 festivals, in Detroit, Cleveland, Washington DC, Edison, Towaco, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Spanish Fork, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boise, Seattle, Vancouver, Ashcroft, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Gainesville. The organizers don’t get paid. We’re all volunteers. Some of us spend nine months planning the tour in advance, while working full-time jobs.
Each youth contributes $1700 to come travel throughout North America and preach and perform devotional service all summer long.
Yes, these youth are amazing.
So we really need to upgrade both buses, starting with the school bus. Please help with your ideas, suggestions, encouragement, moral support… and pledges. This is a great opportunity to help the next generation of young Vaishnavas have a positive experience in ISKCON.
I have compiled a list of buses that are a much newer than our current buses, with links to images, details, etc, for you to look over below. Please let me know your thoughts.
Please take a look at the below and share this information with anyone who may be able to help. One dollar at a time. Or one thousand dollars at a time (if 300 people pledge a $1000 dollars, we can buy a bus in time for this year’s festival tour. Or if 3000 people give $100 each….)
For my part, you have my pledge that every dollar you give for this cause will be used for the new bus.
On behalf of the many volunteers of the youth festival tour, your insignificant servant and humble beggar,
ISKCONyouth. com Krishna. com/bustour