Here’s something to remember the next time you’re dancing in the street: The street is hard.

Even while we were dancing we knew that our feet, our knees and our lower backs would be crying out the next morning.

It wasn’t midnight. But it was after our usual bedtime, and at our age that counts for something.

Yet there we were in downtown Bloomington bouncing up and down to some Tuareg blues on Fourth Street and doing our own version of a two-step to music from Quebec on Sixth.

The occasion was the 26th annual LotusFest. In our case, it was — I believe — our fourth.

LotusFest — though it sounds kind of Asian — derives its name from a guy named Lotus Dickey, a Bluegrass musician who played with the likes of Bill Monroe at Beanblossom.

The festival is an effort to elevate overlooked types of music and to broaden the listener’s musical experience. It’s extremely multicultural, but it’s also very user friendly.

Backed by Indiana University, the festival takes place toward the end of September and pretty much takes over a good chunk of downtown Bloomington.

It runs Thursday through Sunday, but we tend to take in Friday and Saturday nights.

There are six different venues — three churches, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and two large tents erected on Fourth and Sixth streets. And there are a dozen or more musical acts on tap to perform.

If you’re like us, you’ve never heard of the event.

That was our situation until my old friend Jim Klopfenstein suggested a few years back that we get together there.

Lotus-what? I asked.

He quickly filled me in.

The next thing we knew, Connie and I were dancing in the street.

So, what were we dancing to?

If you’ve ever been flipping through CDs in a music store and find yourself looking at the stuff labeled “world music,” you’ll know what we’re talking about.

While those of us in the U.S. tend to listen to a pretty narrow range of popular music, there is a whole different world going on out there beyond our borders.

All it takes to enjoy LotusFest is an open mind, open ears and a love of music.

So what did we hear a couple weeks back?

•A double-drum pair from Korea whose intensity was astounding.

•An Irish trio playing folk tunes.

•An exciting group called the Balan Fanga Project, which featured two guys playing the West African balafon, a marimba-like instrument made from gourds and wood. Jack Imel would have jumped over his marimba to join in. They were awesome and had the crowd up and dancing.

•Les Filles de Illighadad, which was the Tuareg blues group. The Tuareg are a North African people, and the music features a calabash half-submerged in water as an alternative to a bass drum. They were good, but I find Tuareg blues repetitive. And, lordy, were they loud.

•A classic Cajun trio that was good enough to get us dancing, though I have to admit that Cajun tunes begin to sound a lot alike pretty quickly.

•Le Vent du Nord, a Quebecois group that we enjoyed enough to buy two CDs.

•A Brazilian singer with her acoustic guitar accompanist who simply blew us away. Her name is Irene Atienza. His is Douglas Lora.

While it’s routine at Lotus for the audience to sample a few songs and move on to another venue, we were so taken by Irene and Douglas that we stayed for the entire one-hour set of baleros, sambas and fado.

Later, standing at the edge of the tent where the group from Quebec was playing, we actually ran into Irene and Douglas and had a chance to tell them how fabulous they sounded that night.

That’s a pretty good memory to take home when your feet, your knees and your lower back hurt from dancing in the street the night before.