As the festive spirit blankets the capital, the North East Festival gears up for its 11th edition, promising a vibrant showcase of the region's rich culture, tantalising cuisine, and artistic prowess.
The eagerly anticipated North East Festival, the largest and liveliest festival in the capital, will take place in Delhi from December 23 to 26 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (gate no. 14). The ninth North East Festival has a lot to offer, including exhibitions, book launches, B2B meetings, and a variety of cuisine, craft, and cultural events.
Narayan Rane, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of India, who is going inaugurate North East Festival, said: “North East Festival, a colourful festival showcsing the spectacular cultural diversity of North East India, Art, cuisines, craft, agri horti products, tourism destinations, musical extravaganza etc are being organised in Gate No 14, Jawarharl Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. Ministry of MSME is assisting in organising a large exhibition which will bring authentic products from NER. I will present to inaugurate the Exhibition at 3:30 p.m. on December 23. All are invited.”
Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam & Nagaland will inaugurate the cultural evening of 10th North East Festival. Arvind Singh, Secretary of Tourism, Govt. Of India will chair a A B2B Meet on Tourism with national tour operators on 23rd December. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) will do a session with farmers and various stakeholders on December 26.
The festival is expected to be graced by G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Government of India; Piyush Goel, Minister of Commerce & Industry (2019-present), Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution; Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways & Ministry of Ayush, and respective Chief Ministers of the region among other dignitaries.
Chief Organiser of North East Festival, Shyamkanu Mahanta said: “This is not just a fest but an emotion, an expression of liveliness. Through the festival, we want to unite people, providing opportunities to enthusiasts to explore our rich cultures, traditions, and heritage. I hope people will embrace the beauty, diversity, and integrity that North East India holds. Since the festivities have already begun, the tenth edition will be even more special. We want to make these 4 days the best days of the year for the entire audience.”
Like every year, the festival features an intriguing lineup of musical concerts, fashion exhibitions, mask presentations, dance performances, open-mic nights, and much more. Various rock bands from around India will participate in a North East Rock Battle.
Expressing the excitement to perform at the festival, Jimmy Thang of Traffic Jam band said: “The North East Festival is one festival we look forward to every year and this year would be even better…to celebrate Christmas! It is a platform we are proud to stand in because we get to represent our identity and share our rich cultural heritage with the world. So many colours, dialects, cuisines, traditional dances, folk music, talents, traditional attires and cultural history that have stood the test of time. My band Traffic Jam is extremely honoured to be a part of the North East Festival and share the stage with some great artistes of the North East, that I personally really look up to and admire. As part of the ever-loyal rock lovers of the North East, we will be playing rock mostly, which will comprise of a few of our originals and some rock anthems that have always hummed in the voices of the North East people. We are looking forward to a great time and amazing experience of food, culture, music, art, sights and sounds.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Achurjya Borpatra, remarked: “I am supremely excited to be coming and performing at the North East Festival. This is my first at this popular carnival. North East Festival brings the diverse culture and tradition of North East India, exhibitions of the finest products of the region, the best of musical bands, ace fashion shows and many more all under one umbrella. We will be performing our regional hit songs like ‘Biya’, ‘Bidurgeet’, and a fusion of some Bihu hits.”
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. “As the stall names says, we are representing Nagaland and we will showcasing our authentic Naga cuisine. We are expecting good vibe, good crowd, nice music like the last time we participated before COVID-19 took over. Some of our signatures include Purple Sticky Rice, Smoked Pork with Axone (fermented soya), Pork with Fresh Bamboo Shoot, Chicken Curry Naga style, and Momo (veg and non veg),” commented Roudy Buchem of Taste of Nagaland.
The fashion shows will see 16 designers of the region featuring local fabrics and designs on models and celebrities from the states. Sukalpa Das, fashion choreographer and stylist for the event said: “Delhi has been a witness to North East Festival for the past few years (excluding the years of lockdown at COVID-19). This is one event that brings the whole of the region to one venue for everyone to enjoy irrespective of age, caste, culture. This year for fashion we have some amazing lineup of new, talented and creative team of designers, models and backend support. We are aiming at taking the North Eastern traditional fabric, motif and product to greater creative heights where it can be versatile enough for everyday choices as well as grand enough to make a statement in a crowd.”
The exhibition area, which intends to highlight goods made in the North East, will include an MSME zone where more than 100 North East Indian MSME businesses will display agri-horticultural goods, handicrafts, processed food items, and more. For this show, some 140 booths will be set up, and a market place will be developed where guests can peruse and purchase genuine and original goods from the area. Additionally, tourist information booths will be set up to advertise the region’s well-known and unusual destinations.
In the presence of the icons of North East India, a booklet titled “Know Your North East” will also be released. This booklet will be given out in schools and universities to inform and motivate people to discover and recognise the region’s rich legacy.