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Ziro Festival of Music returns to Arunachal after a two-year hiatus

The festival, hailed as one of the most eco-conscious initiatives in the country, is a community driven project led by the Apatani tribe

The festival is designed according to the sustainable practices of the Apatani community. Photo: Mohit Sharma

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In Arunachal Pradesh’s Ziro valley, tourism is higher than usual, as throngs of people have come to attend the Ziro Festival of Music. It is being held amidst much fanfare after a two-year-long hiatus induced by the covid-19 pandemic. The festival, hailed as one of the most eco-conscious initiatives in India, is being hosted by the local Apatani tribe, who have just performed Daminda, a local welcome dance. 400 women participated in the performance to kick off the first day. “Ziro Festival is a community-driven project with a diverse group of people contributing in their own way to make it happen each year. The festival has become one of the largest tourist-attractions in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. We are grateful to be back in the valley," says Anup Kutty, co-founder and creative producer of Ziro Festival of Music.

Imbibing the wisdom of the hosting tribe, the festival is designed around sustainable principles that the community has been practicing for generations. One of those includes the use of repurposed bamboo, which is locally and abundantly grown, along with oak and pine wood for the handcrafted structures. This is also combined with upcycled cloth buntings and bamboo light fixtures for decor. 

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The festival’s green partner, Signature, strives to emulate the tribe’s sustainable practices and leaves a negative waste footprint behind by arranging daily plogging activities with the attendees to keep the festival and surrounding areas clean. The team also conducts routine cleanups of the river and water bodies near the campsite. The premises are kept free of any single-use plastic objects. Instead, there are water-filling stations, betel leaf and biodegradable cutlery. “It is more than just inspiration that we have imbibed from the Apatani tribe in the plan and design of the festival; it is conceptualised around the ways of the land that it is being hosted on,” said Ruchira Jaitley, vice president and portfolio head, Diageo. 

The festival has been one of the biggest stages for showcasing musical talent from the north-east. With artists like the Khasi folk-fusion band Da Minot, Nagaland’s Abdon Mech, Manipuri music icon Mangka, Bipul Chhettri and The Travelling Band, among others, this year, too, is no different. Punjabi balladeer Rabbi Shergill, Kerala’s veteran rock band Motherjane,  rapper Baba Sehgal and Rajasthani folk singer Jumme Khan, along with Lithuanian pop sensation Leon Somov & Dileta, are also part of the lineup.

The Ziro Festival of Music is on till 2 October

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