Festember is the annual cultural festival of National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
and is one of the top cultural festivals of South India. This year, it will be conducted from
22nd to 25th September, 2016.
The theme for this year is ‘Cultural Syncretism’, a tribute to a world which is increasingly
seeing boundaries dissolve in all spheres of life. Our mascot, Polo the Panda, seen in
various Festember related posts, promises to make us ‘Bond Boundlessly’ which is also the
tagline for this year.
Prior to the actual fest there were a few outreach events such as the Rolling Reels Film
Festival that took place in Chennai was a short film contest. There were also the prelims of
Gigahertz, the rock band competition that happened at Bangalore and Chennai.
Festember Social Responsibility conducted a number of events like Pages, a book collection
drive and the Gold Dustbin initiative under which old papers, books, plastics and electronic
wastes were collected. This year Festember also launched a green initiative called
‘Paperback’ to reuse waste CT papers in all its events, taking one step forward towards
reduce, reuse and recycle.
Day 0 starts off with the inauguration of Festember with T.Jayaseelan, President of Valve
Operations, Sanmar Engineering Technologies as the chief guest. The inauguration will be
followed by the first guest lecture of the hugely popular guest lecture series Carpe Diem, by
Carnatic singer Dr. Soumya Srinivasan. Vocalist Bindu and violinist Ambi Subramaniam will
subsequently enthral the audience with some beautiful music.
Day 1 will see a fully packed schedule with a variety of events and informals like the
hugely popular Oculus Rift, Wall Climbing, Soap Soccer, Escape room, Frisbee, Gaming, Ice
hockey, Dart football, Foosball and Slack lining for thrill seekers. There will also be a Live
Photography event conducted by Pixelbug, the college photography club for budding
The highlight of the day is a Guest Lecture by the voice behind hugely popular songs like
Thalli Pogathey, Sid Sriram whose compositions are highly popular with the movie buffs. The
highly awaited Choreo Nite, with performers of Eastern and Western dance both in the group
and freestyle category setting the stage on fire with their scintillating performances, will also
be held on the same day. Day 1 is all set to end with a bang with powerful EDM
performances by the Supersonic.
Day 2 of Festember promises to be a night to remember for music lovers and budding
musicians, with the finals of the eagerly awaited Ghibran’s Talent hunt conducted in the
eastern solo vocal and instrumental category. Interestingly, the certificates for the event will
be signed by none other than famous singer Shankar Mahadevan. Winners will also get a
chance to meet and work with famous composer Mohammad Ghibran. Shrutilaya, the
Carnatic music competition in Non Percussion Instrumental and solo vocals will also be
conducted. Beat boxing, Hip hop, Kendo and Mocktail making workshops will leave the
participants with some fond memories and useful skills for the rest of their lives. Suresh
Triveni, maker of the hilarious ‘ Mauka’ ad series during Cricket world Cup will grace the
occasion as part of the guest lecture series.
Day 2 will also see the finals of GigaHertz, Festember’s open semipro band competition.
Improvathon will see the participants make the best use of their acting skills to captivate the
audience. Festember’s most awaited Rock Night, will have the all-girls cover band ‘Guns and
Hoses’ all the way from New York, the first ever international band to come down to Trichy,
performing some memorable numbers, promising a memorable treat for all the Guns and
Roses fans and etching the Festember experience forever in everyone’s memories.
Day 3 begins with the guest lecture of Mahesh Dattani, one of the best Indian playwrights
and writer of ‘Where there is a will’, a famous English play. This year, the Indie stage
promises to host some amazing talent. Raia, singer, songwriter and programmer will thrill the
audience by coding her music live using raspberry pi. Also performing on the stage are
Agog, a Vedic metal band from Nagpur, Thrill Veera, an entertainer and a stage performer
known for his fire dance, wheel dance and juggling and Kate Black Regan a performing artist
based in Bangalore.
Beginning with the finals of Acoustics the instrumental showdown, Acappella the vocal,
no instruments music competition and Tarangini the eastern music performance, the day
promises to be filled with amazing music. Last but not the least, the renowned music
composers Sachin Jigar will pull off some serious feet tapping numbers, leaving the
audience with sore throats and amazing memories.
Festember – an amalgamation of thoughts
It is said that good things last for a very short while, or to put it in other words, “All good things must come to an end”.
Festember, however, has exceeded nearly all possible limitations and has become more than a good thing. It has outgrown the definition of a good thing, an event or even a college fest, for that matter. It has become a phenomenon, a statement which proves NIT Trichy’s mettle wherever it goes.
Festember is NIT Trichy’s cultural college fest, and arguably one of South India’s biggest college cultural festivals. Ever since its inception in 1975, Festember has transformed from being an intra-college fest to a versatile, multi-faceted extravaganza which caters to the need of every type of college student, be it the studious ones or the ones who just seek some entertainment in their lives. One of the best features of Festember is its versatility and its ability to withstand the test of time. Lasting for 40 years and growing better and better with every edition stands testament to its endurance and constant adaptability to newer environments. New events such as Gigahertz, which recently rendered its second successful edition in Bangalore, and its fifth overall, on 11th September in Bangalore, and the recently concluded Rolling Reels Film Festival on 20th-21st August, which had more than 220 entries from over 12 countries, have taken Festember to the next level, and made it a force to be reckoned with.
All great things have humble beginnings, and similarly, Festember, as mentioned earlier, also began as a small intra-college fest. The term “Festember”, which is often misunderstood as “A Fest in September” when it is actually “A Fest to Remember”, was coined by one of the then REC-T students. It began as a zero budget fest, in which every department pitched in with their own area of expertise. While the design and ambience was taken care of by the Architecture Department, the medals and shields were forged in the workshops of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Zooming into the future, about 40 years later, Festember has completely transformed into something that can only be described as inexplicable and yet an amazing metamorphosis. Events such as Tarangini, ChoreoNite and the well-known Pro-Shows have mesmerized college students over the last four decades. Festember Pro-Shows have become highly popular over the last decade, as it has been graced by several eminent artistes such as Kadri Gopalnath and Benny Dayal in 2009, Anur
adha Sriram, Naresh Iyer in 2010 and even more recently, by Rukmini Vijaykumar, Kash Trivedi, Alvar and Millas, Pritam Chakraborty, Abhijeet Sawant and lots more.
In addition to the cultural events, Festember also conducts literary events in English, Hindi and Tamil. Each literary team conducts about 13-14 events which include JAM, Quiz, Dumb charades, Debate etc, which are regularly won by IIT-M, SASTRA, SRM University etc.
Festember also organizes various workshops such as photography, ventriloquism, caricature, DJ, freestyle football etc, which cater to the versatile interests of the participants. Each year, the workshops are a great crowd puller as not only do they allow students to get a basic understanding of the topic, but also allow them to enjoy the other festivities without any hindrance. The themes of the workshops change every year, so that every student gets to learn something new every year.
The number of sponsors and partners for Festember have definitely increased manifold over the years. Beginning with a shoestring budget, Festember has come a long way to attract many title sponsors, such as Airtel, Indian Oil, Vodafone, Adobe, Celkon, Paragon, The Times of India, Luvit and Coca Cola, to name a few. This clearly indicates the herculean transition undergone to become one of India’s most popular college fests.
Every time Festember arrives in NIT Trichy, there’s an air of excitement and boisterousness. Considering Festember’s track record, we can surely expect a lot from this year’s regale. As the tagline rightly says, this time around, we will surely bond boundlessly.
WHAT DOES THE PANDA SAY?
The panda or Ailuropoda melanoleuca ( Literally : black-and-
white-cat-foot) is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized symbols of balance and harmony in the world. This big adorable bundle of happiness has made its way to representing the World Wildlife Fund and even the Beijing Olympics of 2008. Along with magnificent, fire-breathing dragons, the panda has become a national symbol for the People’s Republic of China.
In fact, this had spawned the earliest known exchange of culture between the PRC and the West; termed – ‘Panda diplomacy’. The PRC essentially loaned out pandas to the rest of the world, at first in the form of gifts and later (beyond 1984), with due fees and on strict terms. Someone probably gave them the memo that if they were good at something, they shouldn’t do it for free. With great power comes great responsibility and the PRC has shown their love for our furry friend by successfully removing the Giant Panda from from the list of endangered animals through decades worth of perseverance and dedication.
“The Dragon Warrior!”
Speaking of uniting different cultures, the panda figuratively and visually embodies the meaning of the ancient chinese philosophical ‘Yin-Yang’ concept. This beautiful ideology describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. This notion of dependent dualities perfectly resembles the mathematical concept of a Mobius Strip ( discovered by German Mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius); a 3-dimensional object which gives the illusion of 2 separate surfaces while in reality there exists only one.
The panda is no longer limited to the animal or its symbolic value these days. It has immersed itself in the modern era as a pop-culture icon through heavy westernisation and blending of a multitude of interpretations. The song ‘PANDA’; debut single of the rapper ‘Desiigner’ rocketed itself to the top of the Billboards earlier this year. The Brooklyn-born rapper’s futuristic style and an infectious, pumping background track saw our Chinese hero hold the No.1 spot for quite some time.
Even tech giants like Google have borrowed from this cultural phenomenon and branded their ideas with a new face. ‘Google Panda’ is an update to the prioritisation algorithm of search results which was initially rolled out back in 2011 and has received several updates since.
“Let me google that for you..”
Of course, the most well-known panda of the century is accredited to DreamWorks for their academy award nominated, animated movie ‘Kung Fu Panda’. The film was very well received and was declared an instant classic! Millions were made in franchising toys and homeware. The movie’s success was so massive that it spawned 2 sequels and an animated series after it. The fact that such a successful film based on Chinese culture was created by the American film industry has led to some Chinese introspection. Po ( voiced by Jack Black) became a superhero overnight. Mixing in themes of comedy and action, the film also garnered praise for its breathtakingly beautiful animation style and the message it conveyed.
“He’s not a big fat panda… he’s THE big fat panda!”
By choosing cultural syncretism as the theme this festember we set out to dissolve differences, break down barriers and to unite as one. The panda is a living personification of that goal and hence ‘Polo the Panda’ has become the figurehead of our mission. Rockin wild-west style cowboy attire and a mighty fine looking
beard, Polo represents us all in our own unique ways and is the purest representation of the magical harmony brought out by bonding boundlessly.
So, what does the Panda say?