It’s almost time for the most picturesque outdoor music festival of the year. Ziro Festival of Music is back, is happening from September 24-27, and its going to be pretty amazing this year. But before we pack our bags and make our way into the wilderness, let’s take a look at everything we can look forward to at this organic music celebration nestled in one of the most gorgeous valleys in Arunachal Pradesh.
1. The journey to Ziro Valley
It’s not very often that one of the best things about going to a festival is the journey there. But at Ziro, you’re not going to miss your favourite artist’s set because you were stuck in Ganpati traffic. What you will actually be doing is enjoying the hilly train ride from Guwahati to Naharlagun, and the drive from there to Ziro Valley. Ziro Festival even helps you travel there, offering packages that take different routes. You can travel to the valley from Guwahati straight to the valley in what promises to be one hell of a cab ride, or via Naharlagun or Dibrugarh. It may be harsh terrain, but we can assure you it’s entirely worth it.
(Image via: zirofestival/Instagram)
2. The gorgeous landscape
This part is pretty obvious. But it’s something to be super-excited about. Ziro Festival is made by its landscape – the view, the greenery and the hills. Festival organisers have chosen the perfect spot for an outdoor music festival, and are taken full advantage of this fact. The venue of the festival, along with the campsites, is surrounded by small villages and scenery that looks straight out of a painting. When you’re not watching the artists play, you need nothing more than just the view to keep you entertained.
3. The hilly weather
A few days of breathing mountain air would do anyone good. The weather at Ziro Valley at this time of the year is perfect, since temperatures range from 20–27 degrees Celsius from March to the end of October. It could also drizzle or rain slightly, so make sure to take a raincoat and a pair of boots. It’s definitely going to be wonderfully chilly, especially at night, so layers are a must. But when has camping been fun without a bit of nip in the air anyway!
(Image via: Ziro Festival of Music/Facebook)
4. Indie Acts
One of the best things about Ziro Festival is that the artists who perform actually become a part of the community. This is why Ziro prides itself on being organic, along with the music it brings in. The bands may not be mainstream, but that’s the best part. If you’re familiar with the Indian independent music scene, you’re likely to be extremely excited about this year’s lineup, which includes Dualist Inquiry, Nicholson, Prateek Kuhad, Alisha Bath, Omak Kamut Collective, Digital Suicide and many more.
5. North-Eastern Folk Music
Ziro doesn’t just bring together independent acts from across the country, it also celebrates folk artists from the North-East. This is music that is rarely showcased outside of these states, let alone at a music festival. It’s one of the things Ziro prides itself on, and it makes the music here a unique mix of refreshing indie and local music. It’s definitely something to look forward to. Artists to watch out for are Tetseo Sisters, Takar Nabam, BK (Borkung Hrangkhawl), Mangka Laihui and more.
6. The Apatani people
They’re the most friendly, easy-going and hospitable people you’re likely to meet. The Apatanis are a non-nomadic, agrarian tribe who have a close relationship with nature that is harmonious and environmentally friendly. They have interesting customs, some of them have intricate tattoos on their faces, interesting piercings, and they’re quite open to talking about their culture. Some of the food at the festival is local, or made from local produce, like local boiled beans, wild leaves, a variety of meat dishes and even homemade rice beer, millet beer and kiwi juice.
Ziro is an outdoor festival, and camping is actually what forms the core of the entire experience. Interactions with people in and around the campsite, going on hikes into the hills around, bonfires and music are what make the Ziro so incredibly fun. Adding to this are a whole range of activities that you can indulge in, like treks to Ziro mountain or Pange Wildlife Sanctuary, an Apatani cultural heritage walk, biking, river rafting and village cycling. Ziro is all about the location, and something that every person going there needs to take advantage of.
8. Ziro Valley and its culture
There are always going to be new and interesting people to meet – the people at the festival are a mish-mash of artists, audience and locals. There is constant interaction between different kinds of people within this new community in Ziro Valley, and the openness is characteristic of the festival.
(Image via: Ziro Festival of Music/Facebook)