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Arunachal Gets Its First Indie Fest In Ziro

Bands from Mumbai, Delhi and across the North East to perform at three-day Ziro festival

rsiwebadmin Sep 14, 2012
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Lou Majaw. Photo: Kunal Kakodkar

This has probably been the biggest year for new festivals with The Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival, M.A.D. Festival in Ooty, two new editions of the Bacardi NH7 weekender and the upcoming Lost Festival in Pune to name some. This month, Arunachal Pradesh gets its first indie music festival in Ziro, a town close to the state capital, Itanagar. “We’ve had events like the Summer Rock festival and Arunachal Rock festival in the past, but this is the first festival of its kind,” says Bobby Hano of Phoenix Rising India, the event management agency that is organizing Ziro festival with menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty.

The idea for a new festival took shape last year, tells us Kutty. “We (Menwhopause) were touring the North East playing back-to-back gigs in venues across Guwahati, Shillong, Dimapur, Kohima and Itanagar. By the time we reached Arunachal Pradesh, political tension in the state had caused a two-day curfew,” recalls Kutty. The gig was postponed and Hano invited the Delhi band to his hometown, Ziro. “Ziro is home to the Apatanis – an extremely hard working agragrian tribe who also make excellent hosts. Our days in Ziro were made memorable with delicious food, endless rice beer and picturesque hikes across the lush valley. I remember sitting on top of the Circuit House hillock overlooking the old WW II airstrip and talking to Bobby about how much fun it would be to get a mix of artists from across the country in this utopian place,” says Kutty. The Arunachal Pradesh Tourism board seemed only too eager to support this venture, and a year on, the Ziro festival is ready to kick off.

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To be held on 14th, 15th and 16th of September, Ziro festival includes acts such as Menwhopause, Peter Cat Recording Co, Teddy Boy Kill, Frisky Pints, The Vinyl Records from Delhi, Sky Rabbit, Blek, Alisha Batth and Bombay Bassment from Mumbai and a host of bands from the North East. Besides veteran bluesman Lou Majaw, an entire line-up of upcoming bands including The Dirty Strikes from Manipur, Street Stories from Shillong and OFF from Dimapur are set to perform at the Ziro festival.

The Vinyl Records, an all girl punk band, originally from Itanagar will in fact make their debut on home turf at the festival. “There aren’t many venues in Itanagar for live performances so this will be our first gig in Arunachal Pradesh,” says TVR’s bassist Minam Tekseng adding, “We’re also looking forward to watching Street Stories, Sky Rabbit, Digital Suicide and Lou Majaw for the first time.” Mumbai band Blek who toured the North East in March will also be making their Arunachal debut with Ziro festival and plan to perform mostly new material at the fest. “We’ve had a fabulous experience in the North East so far,” says Rishi Bradoo’s Blek’s vocalist, “One of our best gigs was at Guwahati where some people actually knew our songs.” Blek’s Guwahati gig was put together with the help of local band Digital Suicide. “They’ve heard our songs and are big fans and we’re fans of their too. So the boys just got the venue together, sound organized, it was a DIY show,” says Bradoo.

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This is exactly the kind of camaraderie that Ziro festival hopes to build between bands and an audience from across the country. As Kutty puts it, “Over three days, there will be over 20 bands playing on one stage ”“ all in an effort to let people understand each other better through the best form of expression: music.”

For more information on the day wise lineup and to buy tickets, click here

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