The opening day of the 2nd edition of .FEST was an astounding success as over fifteen thousand citizens and visitors headed to IDCO exhibition grounds on Sunday for an evening of fun filled extravaganza. The first day of the festival of festivals witnessed a thrilling line up of curtain raiser music and dance performances; with some of the most popular celebrities gracing the event. The cultural festival brings an experience like never-before for the people of Odisha with oodles of Fun, Food, Entertainment, Stories or Trails packed from 15th to 29th January 2023.
Disha Patani performing at .FEST, 2023
Addressing the audience on the 1st day of the event Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha said, “This is a moment of glory for Odisha, we are here experiencing an ecstatic evening of honor. The India and the world is present in Odisha, and let us celebrate with all our hearts and minds together. Bhubaneswar is immensely honored to host the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament for the second consecutive time, where people from 16 nations and across the globe are coming here to enjoy every bit of our city.” others among the addressing panel were, Smt. Sulochana Das, BMC Mayor, Shri. Ananta Narayan Jena, MLA, Shri. Susanta Kumar Rout MLA, Shri. Ashok Panda, MLA, Smt. Usha Debi, Minister of Housing and Urban Development of Odisha, Shri. Pradeep Kumar Jena, Development Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Secretary, Shri. Balwant Singh, Vice-Commissioner, BDA, Shri. Vijay Amruta Kulange, Commissioner, BMC, Shri. V. K.Pandian, Secretary of Transformational Initiatives (5T), and Shri. D. K. Singh, Home Secretary.
The tone was set for the evening as the event got off to a great start with performances from Disha Patani, Guru Randhawa and Black Swan bringing electrifying magic to the stage. One of the most anticipated events of the day was the international food festival showcasing global cusines from 16 participating countries in FIH hockey Men’s Worldcup 2023. With visitors old and young delighting on popular cuisines from various states of India and relishing on delicacies from Odisha. As part of the cultural extravaganza, the Night Bazaar/Flea Market brightened up Bhubaneswars winter nights and provided a remarkable stage for regional artists, start-ups, performers, makers, and creators to showcase their products. The Flea Market set up with an aim to promote the handloom and handicrafts of Odisha, turned out to be a spectacular crowd puller with more than 120 plus home-grown products at display, making it a shopping fiesta for the visitors.
The distinguishing feature of the .FEST has been Sebbe-Au-Ebbe (Then & Now), a photo exhibition that showcased the glorious urban/ city history of Bhubaneswar, one of the 1st Planned cities of Independent India, along with the first of its kind uniquely curated experiential trails around the city of Bhubaneswar, additionally offering visitors to experience the Bhubaneswar Festival of Storytelling (BhuFesSto) specifically curated for the children along with elderly to keep alive the great saga of local literature, poetry & stories.
Providing the experience of a fortnight long festival of festivals, .FEST was first curated in 2018. The previous edition of .FEST witnessed a massive success with millions of Bhubaneswar locals & others from around the world including the best hockey players along with International and national media. This year, the visitors can experience trails around the city of Bhubaneswar, visitors can also experience the Bhubaneswar Festival of Storytelling (BhuFeSto) specifically curated for the children along with elderly to keep alive the great saga of local literature, poetry & stories.
Day 2 of the .FEST will see spectacular performences again in a reinvigorated and winsome avatar, much to the delight of the attendees. Priya Malik, Navraj Hans, Harshdeep Kaur and DiptiRekhaPadhi to present soulful sufi melodies. Beginning at 5 pm, the 15 day festival continues till 12 in the midnight.
.FEST was curated in 2018 with an intention to create an environment of festivity in Bhubaneswar as was to host FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup for the 1st time. The festival was curated to provide a never-before experience to the denizens of BBSR. Specific focus was kept that every category of the society gets something or else to cherish in this festival, and hence the brand name .FEST was crafted wherein F stands for FOOD – one common factor that connects all walks of society, E stands for entertainment – in the era of OTT, the excitement of live performances & the adrenaline rush to witness some of maestros at own city is not an everyday phenomenon in tier-2 cities like BBSR; S stands for stories – Bhubaneswar Festival of Storytelling (BhuFesSto) was specifically curated for the children along with elderly to keep alive the great saga of story telling. Lastly T stands for trails – under the brand name Ekamra walks – where the festival becomes truly CITY festival by showcasing the magnificent assets Bhubaneswar has been preserving for centuries. This year’s edition of .FEST comes with the unique and first of its kind in Odisha Night Bazar & Flea Market where artisans, entrepreneurs will participate. Another unique experience this year shall be Sebbe O Ebbe – the photo exhibition showcasing photographs of the Bhubaneswar city since the last 1860s to the present time.