|Sleepy Arunachal town wakes up to fest from tomorrow
|By RANJU DODUM|
Itanagar, Sep 24 : The quiet Ziro valley in Arunachal Pradesh will come alive with the sound of non-stop music from Thursday.
Located in the heart of Lower Subansiri district and surrounded by rolling green hills, Ziro valley is home to men and women of the Apatani tribe and attracts a number of tourists. From Thursday, the number of visitors to the sleepy town will swell as the third edition of the Ziro Festival of Music kicks off.
In a span of just two years, the festival has become the mainstay of India’s ever-expanding festival circuit. With an eclectic collection of folk, Indie and electro-rock artistes performing against the backdrop of the picturesque valley, it’s not difficult to imagine why.
Festival co-founder Anup Kutty attributes the event’s success to the location, the people and the artistes. “It’s a potent combination of all three,” he said.
The festival was started after Anup and his bandmates from Menwhopause were touring the Northeast and festival director Bobby Hano took them to Ziro for a break. One thing led to another and in 2012 the first festival was organised. Even with showers making the venue ground slushy, it created a buzz across the country. By 2013, the festival had gone global.
Last year, American artistes Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley of the erstwhile Sonic Youth headlined the festival and this year, a reunited Indus Creed will bring down the curtains on Sunday. Such is the lure of the festival that singer Uday Benegal is returning with the troupe many feel is India’s first rock band.
Benegal, who was at last year’s event as part of the Whirling Kalapas, says the “valley is a fabulous piece of earth” and that he is “kicked about going back”.
Apart from Indus Creed, this year will feature a host of big names like Ska Vengers and Your Chin. Additionally, the third edition has the largest line-up of folk artistes and musicians from the Northeast. With the likes of the Nagaland-based Tetseo Sisters making their first appearance at the festival and Manipur band Imphal Talkies set to return, music lovers are in for a treat. With close to 30 bands set to perform, little wonder that the festival had to be extended by a day.
Anup says that “three days just didn’t seem enough” and we “decided to keep the first day free for the people of Ziro as a tribute to the wonderful place”.
Aside from the support of the people, this year Living Dreams, an Arunachal-based trust that documents and promotes local culture and Pepsi MTV Indies, will support the festival. Among its long list of supporters is the Arunachal government. Last year, tourism minister Pema Khandu said he was “very pleased with the overwhelmingly stunning response” and made a call to make the festival the “Woodstock of the East”.