ISLAMABAD: The 10-day annual folk festival titled Pakistan Lok Mela opened on Friday at the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa.
The main focus of the festival is on provincial harmony and national integration highlighting the contribution of people from diverse communities in building the future of Pakistan. Hundreds of master artisans, folk artists, rural musicians and folk dancers from all over Pakistan including remote and far-flung regions are participating in the festival, bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation.
The daily attractions of the festival include provincial pavilions depicting various cultural themes, traditional food stalls, folk dances, folk music, shopping stalls, kids’ corners, concerts in the open-air theatre among several other programmes which will take place simultaneously at each provincial pavilion. An exotic craft bazaar featuring a rich variety of unique handicrafts, souvenirs, antiques and decorative art is also being set up.
The festival is being organised since over four decades, while this year, a part of the income generated through the festival will be contributed to the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund to help flood victims.
The Annual Lok Mela is a unique opportunity to experience the colours and warmth of diverse cultures from all over Pakistan.
The festival will begin with its traditional Dastarbandi ceremony to honour a master artisan, Advisor to Prime Minister for Political, Public Affairs and National Heritage and Culture will inaugurate the event on Nov 26 (today) formally.
Around 500 master artisans, folk artists, and folk musicians are participating in this mela from all over the country.
People from all provinces are participating in the festival. Provincial and regional pavilions serve as a major attraction during the festival. These pavilions present the indigenous culture, arts, crafts, folk music, folk cuisine, and folk crafts of their respective province/region.
People from every province will hold a special musical evening during the mela. Lok Virsa will also hold a special sufi night and musical evening during the festival.
Every year, Dastarbandi of an established craftsman or craftswoman and one eminent male or female folk artist is performed at the time of inauguration.
This ceremony is a way of proclaiming Lok Virsa’s commitment towards the high stature that craftspeople and folk artists have in the cultural mainstream of the nation.
This year, Dastarbandi an established female artisan from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), an eminent folk artist from Gilgit-Baltistan and a male master artisan from the flood-hit area of Fatehpur, Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be performed.
The mela would culminate with a colourful award ceremony on Dec 4, wherein awards will be given to deserving master artisans and folk artistes on the recommendations of a national jury constituted for the purpose.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022