Dambuk, the orange bowl of Arunachal Pradesh, is known for its fragrant, juicy oranges. The Orange Festival of Adventure and Music took place between December 14th and 17th in Dambuk, which is about 30 km from the district capital, Roing, of the Lower Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh.
The eighth edition of the four-day festival saw many musical acts and adventure sports throughout what was a vibrant cultural extravaganza. The Dambuk Orange Festival of Adventure and Music (OFAM) was organised by the state and central government to promote the famed oranges of the state. The festival has been instrumental in promoting the oranges of the state.
With more than 50 orange orchards in the town of Dambuk alone, the entire valley produces more than enough oranges, and cultivators now export the fruit internationally to places like Dubai. Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu opened the festival by flagging off a rally and talking about how the festival is a way to highlight the orange produce of Dambuk, the very best in the country.
An archway lined with photographs of artists who have previously performed at the festival led you to the main festival grounds. Inside, the venue was lit up with various props ranging from a giant guitar to an old bus painted in pop colours and doubling as a beer stall. From grilled pork to crispy silkworm, the local delicacies were delicious and offered a huge variety.
The sprawling grounds of the festival, a huge amphitheatre with an underground green room, were littered with many stalls selling local food and rice and millet beer. “We brew our own wine at home, and although we are not licensed to sell it outside of the festival grounds, here it is very popular,” said Sarah, whose stall had at least six types of wines ranging from kiwi to pineapple and the bestseller, black rice wine.
Sustainability was a big draw at the festival, with bamboo dustbins at every corner and stalls serving their fare in reusable bamboo tumblers, or adung, as they are called in the local tongue, and paper plates.
With Bombay Vikings, Leslie Lewis, POD, Ritviz, Dobom Doji, Indian Apache and Dobom Doji Collective, among many others, the festival saw a glittering music scene. A good mix of genres made sure that there was something for everyone to enjoy. On the first night, the opening act was a form of traditional dance which was followed by musical performances by indie and local bands. The closing performance by Bombay Vikings stole the show. So much so that the CM requested a song (Kya Surat Hai) and stayed back until the end.
“We have some of the best artists coming in here, and the difference between Orange Festival and other music festivals is that here, we have no limitations on genres. We are also promoting local talent,” said Abu Tayeng, Secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs.
The thumping musical scene was accentuated by the zooming zipliners who went above the crowd. During the day, there were orange eating competitions and painting contests for school children, and in the evening, there was paragliding, zip lining, and white water rafting, as well as hot air balloon rides.
JK Tyre sponsored the rally, which was a new addition to this year’s edition. “This is a new addition this year. You may have noticed there are a lot of women drivers at the rally, and our aim is to empower more women,” said Lhakpa Tsering, one of the main organisers of the festival.