Like the Holi Fest 2015, the FOSAI Festival of Colours 2016 promises to be one of the biggest Indian dance and music festivals Werribee has ever seen
On 19 March, Festivals of South Asia Inc will organise its second annual Festival of Colours at the Werribee Race Course. Called Holi Fest in 2015, FOSAI has rechristened its iconic celebration the Festival of Colours this year.
Last year’s Holi Fest attracted a crowd of 18,000 and its appeal was more than just being a religious and cultural festival. It turned out to be one of the biggest dance and music festivals where families and young adults celebrated with colours. The gates opened at 11 AM on the day and the event concluded at 9 PM.
“We have big plans for the Festival of Colours this year – I really think there’s never been a more exciting time to witness the celebrations,” says Hari Yellina, Creative Director & Secretary of FOSAI.
Following four successful festivals last year, FOSAI, says Yellina, is back this year with bigger and finer ideas to entertain.
In 2016, FOSAI will introduce a “Rain Dance” at the Festival of Colours event if the temperatures go over 22 degrees Celsius.
“The rain dance is something we have not witnessed in festivals around Australia. We are conceptualising the theme now and are working on the infrastructure. It’s a lot of work that goes into it and we are hoping to get a warm day. If the weather permits, we will introduce a rain dance this year, where large sprinklers will be brought in to douse the crowd in water while they celebrate throwing colours at each other,” adds Yellina.
Several types of water guns are also being introduced into the festival area, which will also have an exclusive beer garden for those looking to take a break from all the fun and frolic. Apart from the beer garden, there are several food and ice cream stalls and children’s rides for attendees to enjoy.
Many businesses in the Wyndham area such as River Walk, Lend Lease, Ray White and Jeep have come forward to support the event this year. The Wyndham City Council has also come forward to support this year’s Festival of Colours. Unlike last year where the event hardly had any sponsorship support, this year is looking very different. The stalls are booked out, sponsorship is impressive and local government support is in place.
“Our hard work last year has paid off. We have created a platform that offers the community and its artistes professionally-run festivals so they can engage with their audience, participate in cultural activities and build bridges between Australia and India,” says Yellina.
No other community organisation in Australia organises four mega events celebrating Indian culture in Australia.
Festival of Colours has already announced this year’s India Day at the Werribee Race Course. “As soon as Holi is over, our team will start executing plans for India Day, where there will be another mix of cultural activities. You wouldn’t want to miss any of our events if you are in Melbourne. We recreate the fun you experience in India during festival times,” says Yellina.
Holi in 2016 will start on Wednesday, 23 March, and will continue until Thursday, 24 March.
Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (or Pooranmashi, Full Moon) in the month of Phalgun according to the Hindu calendar. Holi is a spring festival in North India celebrated primarily by Hindus, but over the years, the festival has become extremely popular with all communities and it has a pan-Indian flavour.
In Australia, Holi always falls during the autumn season and will be associated with autumn. The slight nip in the air mixed with sunshine makes it a perfect season in Australia to celebrate Holi.
“Weather plays an important role in the celebrations. But sometimes, people just don’t care. Come hell or high water, they come out and play Holi and that is the sprit of this festival,” Yellina added.
Several VIPs in the area will attend this year’s Festival of Colours event at the Werribee Race Course that starts at 11 AM. MP Tim Watts from Gellibrand, Cr Gupta from Wyndham City Council are some of the confirmed dignitaries attending the event. One of Melbourne’s best Indian DJs Arya will be performing at the festival this year. DJ Arya’s music was a massive hit last year as thousands of festival attendees stomped and danced at the race course surprising everyone. Holi in Melbourne and Sydney usually attracts 3000 to 4000 people. But 18,000 people celebrating Holi at one spot added a new dimension to the popular festival. It only means that Holi can be organised in all its grandeur and fun by an Australian organisaton. FOSAI has proved that point last year.
The event boasts a large security presence, ample free parking, children’s ride, ATMs, food stalls, beer gardens and much more. This year’s Festival of Colours is promising to be another colourful event organised by FOSAI, so don’t miss the action.