Touted as India's first outdoor adventure and music festival, the Orange Festival of Adventure & Music is returning to the northeastern state Arunachal Pradesh. Starting from Thursday, the third edition of the fest, supported by Arunachal Pradesh Tourism department, will be headlined by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
The four-day event will be hosted by Dambuk in Lower Dibang Valley, which is said to be the tenth least populous district in the country. So why Dambuk?
"The main aim of initiating the festival was to bring Dambuk into the world's notice. Even most people in the state didn't know about the place. What better medium than music, which has a worldwide acceptance, and adventure because getting to Dambuk itself is an adventure.
"The area offers ample opportunities for adventure in its rawest form," Abu Tayeng, Director, Orange Festival of Adventure & Music, Dambuk, told IANS in an email interaction.
One interesting fact behind the festival's name is that the first orange plantation started about Dambuk 30 years ago.
"Dambuk produces some of the best oranges and has now become principal cash crop of the area. It has brought about an economic and social change for the people. Hence, we chose the fruit orange as the brand of the festival," he said.
He said Dambuk is also known as 'Kala Paani' as it remains cut off from the rest of the world during monsoon and since time immemorial has been facing the brunt of mother nature's fury.
"But citizens of the area have overcome these natural hurdles and carved out life in Dambuk. I want to celebrate and pay tribute to the fighting spirit of my forefathers and our people by popularising the area through this festival. I also want to create self-employment and business opportunities to my people," said Tayeng.
How will the fest help the state?
"Firstly, by increase in the tourist inflow. Secondly, by providing self-employment avenues to local people. All the stalls, homestays, most production crew, even some camping partners are from the state. Now, we have a trained pool of human resource. Orange fest has become a training ground for the state's off-roading enthusiast," he said.
Last year, the fest introduced the natural off-roading event JK Tyre Orange 4x4 Fury. Its second edition will see participation by stars like The Rainforest Challenge India champion Kirpal Singh Tung and Kabir Waraich, winner of JK Tyre Orange 4x4 Fury 2015.
What are the other adventure-based activities planned for this year?
"I added Maruti Suzuki National Superleague TSD Rally Championship to this edition," he said.
A number of high adrenaline adventure sports like river rafting, dirt cycling, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides in the forest are also lined up. And of course, the fest is high on music too.
The line-up also includes Antoine (France), Skylevel (Shillong), Menwhopause (New Delhi), Baby Boomers (Bhutan), Gingerfeet (Darjeeling), Arogya (Sikkim), Shubhangi Joshi Collective (Mumbai), Frisky Pints (Mizoram), Tani (Arunachal Pradesh) and The Ganesh Talkies (Kolkata).
(The writer's trip to Arunachal Pradesh is sponsored by JK Tyre Motorsports. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at email@example.com )
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