As a guest here at West Wind Vacation Apartments you’ll fit into one of two groups: Those who have heard the enchanting beats coming from somewhere just down the beach – or you’re one of those who have chosen to venture up to partake in one of Casey Key’s most unique and visited events. We’re talking about The Casey Key Drum Circle.
It’s an ongoing cultural event, really. The crowd itself is made up tourists and local residents from a 20 mile or so radius from our little piece of paradise. On any given Saturday and Wednesday evening, the crowd can vary from a few dozen up to a thousand people. The amateur rhythmists carry with them a fantastic array of percussion instruments from all over the globe. You’ll encounter simple Bongos, Tambourines, Djembes, and sometimes an entire studio drum kit.
If my memory serves me well, the Casey Key / Nokomis Beach Drum Circle has been going on at the public beach just north of here for about 15 years. I’d really like to give you some accurate history on the event but this proves difficult for a number of reasons. One of the really unique and amazing facts about the drum circle is that there are no organizers or sponsors, no one person or group can claim responsibility for organizing and promoting the Drum Circle. It’s as if some celestial calling brought together a host of rhythmically gifted free spirits on this very spot. Week after week and year after year they return.
North of us on Siesta Key, there has been a drum circle for much longer than the one that has been going on here on Casey Key. Many of the drummers and followers are the same from the drum circle on Siesta Key. One rumor is that when political forces tried to shut down the Siesta Key drum circle for whatever reason…it simply migrated here. I for one couldn’t be happier about it.
From about an hour before sunset the players and the onlookers begin to gather. A brave soul beats out the first cadence and the rhythm is joined by all who have something to express. No leaders, no followers…just a primal and prehistoric beat that we all seem to somehow carry inside and understand. As sunset approaches, the now larger crowd and orchestra of players move toward a faster crescendo. There are beautifully adorned belly dancers and Hula-Hoops. There are dancers aplenty, from the truly young to the more aged who are quite obviously eternally young at heart. The scene is truly something to behold.
Just as you can begin to fully take in all of the sights and sounds, the scents and the sensations – the sun reaches the horizon. Encouraged by the fevered pounding of the instruments and hearts…she sinks out of sight and the sky begins to take on a softer hue, yet still ablaze. The players will play until there is little light left. Celebrating the end of another day, well lived and well played. Everyone makes their way back to where they came from. All are satisfied that they had a small part in giving back something to the cosmos and to their fellow kindred spirits this night.
Rarely does one get to encounter such a spiritual and edifying event. If you’ve experienced the Casey Key Drum Circle once…then you know, you’re already hooked. If you’ve never made it a point to check it out, you’re not doing yourself any favors in putting it off. Make your way here with a quickness…you have no idea what you are missing!