Come December 23, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will come alive with the diverse food, crafts, and culture of Northeast as the four-day North East Festival begins here. This is the tenth edition of the North East Festival.
Since its inception in 2013, this larger-than-life festival has contributed towards a significant rise in boosting tourism in the Northeastern states. The first seven editions were organised from 2013 to 2019 respectively at IGNCA, Janpath, New Delhi, and witnessed massive crowds. The last two editions were held in Guwahati, in a hybrid model, due to COVID 19.
Says festival organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta, “After two years of lockdown, social distancing, and various COVID19 protocols, we’re extremely happy and excited to be back at our favourite place i.e., Delhi. The city has always given us immense love.”
“As the name suggests, North East Festival – Connecting people Celebrating life – is a festival that celebrates the beauty, diversity, and integrity of North East India. The USP of this festival is the way in which we seamlessly integrate elements of social cohesion, cultural heritage, and economic welfare, making them an immersive experience for all,” he states adding that the festival has been able to sensitise people to recognise and respect the opulent and diverse heritage that the NE region holds. “People are now aware of our culture and traditions, and that has helped in reducing racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia – a major issue faced by North East Indians,” he remarks.
The 2022 edition has an exciting line-up of colourful dance dramas, music performances, mask presentations, fashion shows, open-mic sessions and a lot more. A North East Rock Battle will be organised among various rock bands from across India. As many as 50 food stalls will present diverse food items not only from Northeast India but across Delhi-NCR to encourage cross-cultural awareness and exchange. Ever-enthusiastic food lovers can try out jadoh, sanpiau, iromba, masor tenga, smoked pork, and more.
The musical extravagansa includes exclusive artistes from different genres – from folk to rock, pop to jazz. Bands include Klanjan (Assam), Innocent Eyes (Manipur), Traffic Jam (Manipur), Flying Cupid (Assam), Bipul Chetri & The Travelling Band (Sikkim/Darjeeling), Trance Effect (Nagaland), Taba Chake (Arunachal Pradesh), and Jessie Lyndoh (Meghalaya). Other popular artistes and bands include the poster boy of Assam Zubeen Garg, Achurja Barpatra, and When Chai Met Toast. The nights will also witness electrifying performances by star DJs from the region. Another highlight will be the battle of the bands – a rock music competition – for the youths of North East and Delhi.
The fashion shows will see 16 designers of the region featuring local fabrics and designs on models and celebrities from the states.
The exhibition arena, which aims to showcase ‘Made in North East’ products, will have an MSME zone, wherein more than 100 MSME entrepreneurs of North East India will showcase agri-horti products, handloom, handicrafts, processed food products and much more. Around 140 stalls will be put up for this exhibition and a marketplace will be created wherein visitors can explore and buy authentic and original products from the region. Additionally, tourism stalls will be set-up to promote the region’s popular and off-beat places.
A booklet titled ‘Know Your North East’ will also be launched in the presence of North East India’s icons, which will further be distributed in schools and universities for educating and inspiring people to explore and identify the region’s rich heritage.
Along with culture, gastronomy, entrepreneurship, costumes, the festival will also celebrate regional art forms and languages, adding to its diversity and vibrancy.