Shillong: Come Saturday, and all roads in Meghalaya’s capital will lead to the cosy Orchid Lake resort overlooking the Umiam lake for the third edition of Shillong Beer festival on 1 October.
“Our festival provides an open forum for beer brands — international and local. We want to win our consumer’s hearts and burps equally, and give Shillong its rightful place on the festival map,” said Peter Mawlong, one of the pioneers of the festival.
Over 18 brands of international and local brews will be participating.
Arjun Sen and 4th element, Reverse Tragedy (winners of Hornbill festival 2015), Dew Drops and Riddem Funktion Collective from Mumbai, DjGrath Adam (Mumbai) and Elton are all set to entertain the Shillong fest.
The festival will usher in an entertainment-filled weekend with sampling of beers from a range of brewers coupled with enticing food, music, art and games.
The other popular beer fests around the globe are the Munich Oktoberfest (Germany) and the Winter Ales Festival (Britain), besides various other European beer festivals. Then there are the ones in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Latin America.
Despite a sizeable population of beer lovers in India, not much action is seen in the form of celebration — there’s a whole bubbly horizon that begs to be explored.
It was in 2014, when two like-minded individuals — Peter Mawlong and Dominic Sutnga took it upon themselves to bring to life a festival that was just waiting to be tapped. Thus, The Shillong Beer Festival was born.
The first edition attracted a crowd of 800, and 2015 saw it rise beyond 3,000 — the organisers are hoping to get even larger this time.
“On Thursday, we saw the participation of over 12 international and Indian brands — the whole day was a picnic-style festival,” said Mawlong.
In an effort to recognise traditional local beer brewing, the festival organisers have encouraged local people to allow consumers to sample their products which explains the participation of local beer brews from five north-eastern states in 2015.
Likewise, right from its inception, Mawlong said their efforts were always to promote local food — prepared by individuals who had the skill galore but not the luxury of an outlet. He promised some finger-licking recipes featured at the fest.
This year’s edition will also see the participation of local artistes. “No money was charged from these young artistes to participate,” said Mawlong.
Shillong had a beautiful culture of fetes during the 1970s and 1980s. These fetes dotted the entertainment scene in the city but all that has died out, much to the dismay of many here.
The Shillong beer festival wants to revive this culture so various games have also been organised.
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