| 03 Mar 2024
18 Degrees Festival 2014 attempts to promote Arts and Culture for the locals in Meghalaya

MUMBAI: In an initiative by the Arts and Culture Department of the Government of Meghalaya, '18 Degrees' is a platform to explore and create a culture that educates and encourages the local youths to explore and share their creative ideas. The three day festival will be held on 9 to 11 October this year at State Central Library in Shillong, after gaining a huge and positive response with its first edition in 2013.

18 Degrees will witness artistes from all kinds of backgrounds and promote various kinds of arts and culture on a big platform. Promising to be back on a larger scale in terms of look and feel, variety and number of acts and activities, the event will be a collaborative effort between the state government and managing teams like THE small ART PROJECT, BIG ORANGE Network and Meghalaya XBHP.

The festival will host literary activities, street art/graffiti workshops, visuals and sound workshops, live performances by musicians and actors, acrobats, street biking and BMX Freestyle, photo exhibitions, paint-ball, gaming, b-boying, cosplay, a fashion show and much more. From Indian television veterans like Jayant Kripalani to top acrobatic acts from UK and Poland, the festival will be an amalgamation of different kinds of cultures.

Dipankar Sinha of THE small ART PROJECT, said, "The (Meghalaya) government has taken this initiative to promote culture and encourage the youth to engage. This is a great step forward for a region like the north east of India, where resources are limited for many artistes to showcase their talent."

Of all the music acts that will be performing there, Northsyde, a UK based blues/rock indie band is probably the most anticipated and they will be performing on 11 October on the main stage. The band's music has been described as 'a heady mix of soulful blues, shaking funk, and Zep-style riffing' by many. The other stage, i.e, the Alternative stage will feature smaller acts and also host the Cosplay event.

Another performance to look forward to is that of Mumbai-based singer/songwriter Geetu Hinduja, who has been performing contemporary folk, pop and soft rock music for more than two decades. Moreover, Indian playback singer and Indian Idol famed Vishal Kothari will also be a part of the festival by singing live on stage his songs like 'Yaaron', 'Pal' and many more. One of the most popular bands from Northeast India in the Indian independent music scene, 4th Element is scheduled to play on October 10 at the festival, bringing to stage their unique blend of funk, jazz, R'n'B and soul.

Other performances include local acts like MAP, We The Giants, Street Stories, Rangdap, Dosser's Urge, and a few others. These musical acts vary across a range of genres like pop-rock, post-indie rock, electro pop, instrumental rock to classical and folk as well. In addition to live music performances, the festival will also host live visual music shows by two renowned visual jockeys – VJ Philip Gordon and DJ Arpan. Besides playing house/electronic music, they will be responsible for creating a relaxed and calm ambience for all the festival-goers.

The festival will also bring internationally recognised chalk artiste and 3D street painter Tracy Lee Stum. Sinha explained, "Chalk Art is not an art that people here are aware of; it is a very novel idea. Every year we will try to bring something new to the people and encourage them to learn and try out these new forms of art."

In 2013, the festival saw an approximate total of 30 thousand people attending over three days. Sinha added, "The main objective of the festival is participation of the attendees. There are so many activities to choose from and all the people are welcome to join in and be involved. The department of Arts and Culture has been very active for a few years now and this can introduce a lot of new things to the young people here."