For the first time in the country’s history, the West Bengal government will organise Loko Sangaskriti Utsav on a floating boat in Laldighi, which is opposite to the Writers’ Buildings.
Atri Bhattacharya, secretary of the information and cultural affairs department, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the festival on December 23 at 5 pm. More than 5,000 folk artistes from different parts of the state will participate in the programme that will continue from December 24 to January 1.
Another venue for the festival is Pricep Memorial. Every day the three-hour-long programme will start from 3 pm at Laldighi while at Pricep Avenue it will start at 5 pm. At the same time, Poush Utsav will begin from December 24 at Mohur Kunja and Madhusudan Mancha.
Vocalist Indranil Sen said during the 10-day programme, folk artistes including baul, maruni, lepcha, sherpa, mech, rava, kirtan, chau and many others will perform at the event. All the 5,000 artistes will be present at the inaugural function on December 23 and from the next day they will be divided into groups of 600 to 700 artistes. The groups will perform each day at different venues.
Besides enjoying the performances, people can also buy handicrafts as several rural people will set up their shops at all the venues. Visitors can also enjoy various types of sweets of rural Bengal like pithe and puli.
The state government has prepared a data containing names of more than 50,000 artistes. They are getting a financial assistance of around Rs 1,000 per month. Each of the artistes is also getting four programmes every month and they get Rs 1,000 to perform in each programme.
Sen also said that folk artistes in the state had suffered a lot due to lack of financial assistance. “Our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the necessary steps at the right time to help the artistes to keep up the tradition of the state,” he said.