Yes, the stories I’ve heard about the Florida drum circles are true. They are big, here are lots of them and the community is thriving. One drummer told me that he could look online and find a different drum circle happening in central Florida almost every day of the week. The online presence is impressive and there is a lot of engagement through social midea.
This drum circle in Orlando has been going on for over 10 years and is right outside a great Organic restaurant called the Dandelion Community Cafe. There was a check-in table where you could rent a drum as well as vendors along the outside selling organic soaps, jewelry and other items of the sort. The circle started around 7 pm with someone setting out chairs that had a sign on them that read, “Reserved for Drummers!” The most fascinating aspect I found was that this circle was unfacilitated and how the group seemed to understand and agree when and how new rhythms were formed. When a rhythm would seem to die off, someone would start a rumble until all the drummers would join into a final rumble finale. The group would then take a quick break and wait for someone new to start a different groove and then everyone would join in. I never once heard a musical disagreement. Toward the end of the circle, I counted about 30 drummers and around 30 dancers who joined in the center. I was told that this was a smaller turn out than usual. At 10 pm the drumming stopped and everyone gathered around the fire and held hands to close with a song and brief announcements. It was a really friendly group of people and I would definitely like to go back. Find out more on their Central Florida meetup group.
My friend Ron and I drove almost 3 hours from Orlando and made it to the end of the Siesta Key drum circle. I found it to be a lot more touristy with more observers than those drumming or dancing. However, it was still about 20 drummers strong and no shortage of inspiration and activity all around. There was also a much smaller crowed than usual because of the Red Tide and protests about it that were going on that weekend. Basically, the issue has to do with the sugar plantations that has taken control of the water flow in central Florida that is dumping huge amounts of fertilizers into the ocean. Because of this, bacteria and planktons thrive that causes a reddish color tide and the beaches are deemed unsafe to swim in. Despite this ecological hazard, the beaches and the view were still incredible including this rainbow we saw when we first arrived.
Another highlight was having the opportunity to meet with Jana Broder who is the founder of Drum Magic. Jana has created a successful business around providing group drumming experiences for large groups including schools, seniors centers and corporate team building in Florida and all along the east coast.
Jana has provided drumming programs for groups of over 1,000 people and carries her drums in these trailers.
In the short time I had with Jana, she taught me a lot about the business and I plan to return to shadow her in the near future. She is definitely someone I aspire to emulate,and she is an innovator in the drum circle facilitator community.