Managed by Fountainhead; 2015 ITM Brings Together Indigenous Communities from Across the Globe
by EVENTFAQS Bureau Marketing | December 29, 2015 | Photo Feature
High atop the enchanted city of Shillong in the abode of cluds, Meghalaya, amidst the hallowed halls of the North East Hill University (NEHU) and the sacred groves of Mawphlang – thousands of representatives from over 50 nations around the world came together for an unprecedented celebration of indigenous cultures.Fountainhead was appointed to plan and execute the Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) 2015 or the International Mei Ramew (which translates to Mother Earth in Khasi) which was hosted by a collaboration between NESFAS, The Indigenous Partnership, Slow Food International and the Government of Meghalaya. Held from Nov 3 to 7, the festival brought alive the ingredients, the recipes, the agro-diversity secrets and treasures that have been held sacred by tribes for hundreds of years to ensure the aptly coined theme, ‘The Future We Want’.
Fountainhead conceptualised and executed the five-day long festival including the opening ceremony, conference events, field visits in 10 villages, taste workshops, food festival as well as the closing ceremony. Apart from planning the entire logistics and travel management of around 600 delegates, Fountainhead also created an exclusive e-ticketing system and website of ITM.
On the event planning, VG Jaishankar, Director of Fountainhead Entertainment, said, “Planning, envisioning and encapsulating the scope of work for a project of this magnitude can be a daunting task, but with a dedicated team stationed at Shillong, we came together and crafted one of the most iconic and culturally significant events of the year.”
With a grand cultural performances by regional and international artists of indigenous origin, the Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma called for a repeat of such international event in the State every three years. The event kicked off with a high voltage opening ceremony at the scenic sprawling campus of North Eastern Hill University of Shillong which witnessed some powerful performances by the sand story tellers of Vanuatu, Shillong Chamber Choir, a contemporary dancer Astad Deboo and the Shillong Choral society, featuring 122 singers. It also saw the Mongolian Throat Singers' first ever performance in India. Taste workshops were thematically designed and organised to introduce participants to wild, leafy, edible food plants that are underutilized. The event ended with a ravishing closing ceremony which saw the nature coming alive with an abstract art of 3D mapping on the sacred groves of Mawphlang. The highlights also included performances of Pung Cholom and Dhol Cholom dance from Manipur along with the ITM theme song group based on multiple folk traditions using multiple indigenous instruments.
The actual execution of the event was no small feat either, with over 2 venues to manage at over 1,500 meters above sea level, an exposition area of over 90,000 sq. ft. at NEHU, Shillong and multiple acres of area at Mawphlang Festival which we thoroughly reshaped into an iconic venue for a sound and light show to enthrall the spectacular gathering of over 60,000 people. All this in conjunction with simultaneous culinary experiences hosted at 9 villages has made this one of the most illustrious events in India – that is currently being reviewed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest gathering of indigenous peoples in the world.
Bibhudutta Sahu, Project Director of NESFAS, added, “We were impressed by the creativity of the young, energetic team responding to the ever changing dynamics, dealing with multiple stakeholders – both the venues (NEHU & Mawphlang) delivered a wow factor! Team at Fountainhead were partners in true sense right from the planning stages all the way to the splendid restoration they did to ensure a clean footprint for both the venues – I felt the camaraderie in having partnered with such an agency and look forward to working with them again.”
Apart from planning the entire logistics and travel management of around 600 delegates, Fountainhead also created an exclusive e-ticketing system and website of Indigenous Terra Madre.