By Ghania Saeed (Children’s Literature Festival, Pakistan)

7 December 2021 - 5:32pm

With a few weeks left to go, the pressure is on. At the end of the South Asia Festivals Academy course, each team is required to submit an Event Manual based on a unique festival idea selected by each group.

It might sound easy but trust me, it's not. It requires immense coordination, hours of racking your brain and impeccable writing skills because once you are a part of the cohort, you magically want to give your every bit. I think this magic is the result of a spell cast on the entire cohort by trainers Gary and Divya - the fairy godfathers of the academy - who you can trust to always be there to support you throughout your journey.

Moving towards my quest to create the Event Manual, I was fortunate enough to be assigned to work with three members, all of whom came from different countries - Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. We needed to work together to find a mutually agreed theme. We discussed everything from fashion to movies to hosting a huge South Asian Music Festival but finally, we agreed on targeting the one main problem of festivals itself - Trash.

Festivals are known to be a source of enjoyment, but they are also notorious for leaving behind a complete wasteland. Hence, using this as a source of inspiration we came up with the idea of hosting the first-ever - Bring your own Trash Festival - a festival that will be focused on highlighting recycling, protecting our environment, and converting trash to art. With this simple yet unique idea, we were able to let our imagination go wild and invite artists from all over the world and host our very own Coldplay concert in Sri Lanka.

I still remember the moment when all the groups were sharing their festival ideas such as a Festival for Peace, a Travelling Festival or a Festival on a Cruise. None of us could contain our excitement and we all were ready to buy a ticket for each of the amazing festivals being designed by different groups. I believe that this was one of the key moments of the course where the entire cohort had a realisation of why all of us love working on festivals and that there is a huge realm of festival ideas that need to be materialised and shared across the globe.

Keeping this love for festivals in mind, each team is now working towards creating the best festival experience for their audience - so now the competition for the best festival is on. I really hope that my team and all other teams will be able to work together on creating something beautiful out of the ideas we all shared with each other.