A traditional dance being performed as part of Hornbill Festival in Kohima, Nagaland Credit: File image

Kohima: The Nagaland government has decided to discontinue the popular Hornbill International Rock Contest that was held as part of the Hornbill Festival in Kohima from December 1 to 10 every year. The contest used to attract participants from across the country.

In its place, the state government has now introduced ‘The Great Hornbill Rock’, in which winners from all the districts of the state chosen through an event called ‘Ticket to Hornbill’, along with other national bands, will perform under one roof.

Introducing an “all-inclusive policy” for the Hornbill Festival — also known as the ‘festival of festivals’ — the Nagaland government — under the aegis of the newly-rebranded Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA) — will conduct the state-wide ‘Ticket to Hornbill’ audition in all districts. The winners of these auditions will eventually perform at the music festival held in Kohima.

Announcing this at a press conference held at Symphony Cafe on Wednesday, TaFMA advisor Theja Meru said that the move was made to encourage and provide a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent. Further, it aims to provide a free, fair and equal platform for musicians from across the state.

Terming the new initiative as a “wonderful professional exercise” for local musicians, Meru said that the decision was taken to aim towards professionalism in music keeping in mind the current trend and to make the Hornbill Music Festival a full-fledged music festival.

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While regular evening concerts will be held at The Heritage village in Kisama (south of Kohima town), multiple concerts varying from jazz, EDMs, blues, rock and other genres will be organised at multiple venues, hotels, cafes and halls across Kohima. In this regard, Meru assured that a music calendar-like brochure will be made available for visitors and interested persons to pick their desired place and genre. These concerts will be curated by TaFMA’s event managers for which selections on proficiency will be made.

Theja Meru, Advisor of TaFMA, said that the move was made to encourage and provide a platform for local musicians to upscale their professionalism in music

The ‘Ticket to Hornbill’ event will also be conducted across few selected cities in the country to be initiated by ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ outlets. Meru also informed that TaFMA is closing deals with Gibson India, Rolling Stone India and Hard Rock Café for the music festival.

Meanwhile, the state is all set to organise a one-of-its-kind ‘Nagaland Choir Olympics’ where winners from all districts will compete at the finale that will take place at the Regional Centre for Excellence in Music and Performing Arts (RCEMPA) in Kohima on October 23.

Based on meritocracy, 16 to 20 of the finest musicians from these choirs will further be selected by professional judges to represent the state at the ‘11th World Choir Games’ which is scheduled from July 5-15 next year.

The auditions for the ‘Ticket to Hornbill’ and ‘Nagaland Choir Olympics’ will simultaneously be conducted on September 27.

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