We were at the event Saturday evening Nov. 17. It was organized by the people who bring the Asian Festival to DC which looks like an umbrella group of various sponsors including Singha Beer and the Thai Tennis Organization of America. I was a little disappointed. The setting was wonderful and it was a cold night. My chief complaint was that even though the event was open to the public there was very little information on the schedule. As it was we sat for about 2 hours before the Loy Krathong festival itself which unfortunately could not be done in the actual pool itself. The organizers had set up a small temporary pool beside the party tent which seemed to be open only to invited guests. I felt a little under-dressed compared to the gents in tuxedos and the ladies dressed to the nines. I should have asked for a beer and tasted some food but I didn't want to be led away from the party by the U.S. Park Police.
The MC was an interesting gentleman in a pink bow. He explained that the Loy Krathong festival had its roots in Deepavali. I was surprised that he used this word because here it is usually called Diwali and I haven't heard the version of this word for a long time. Deepavali was what it was called in Malaysia. (On a separate note, I once mentioned another Indian celebration to some Indians but they had never heard of it -- called Thaipusam. I was surprised to read on Wikipedia that it was mainly celebrated in Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius. )
There was also a band from Los Angeles playing Thai contemporary music -- basically reinterpreting Thai music to its modern form. They had a mix of modern musical instruments as well as Thai instruments. Unfortunately, I don't remember their name but they were pretty good. A sample of their work is on:http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=17217795