Ziro Festival of Music – India’s Most Fun Outdoor Music Festival

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The Ziro Festival of Music is billed as India’s most fun outdoor music festival. Held in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, a region of pristine beauty, the Ziro Festival just completed its third edition in the last week of September, 2014. The enthusiastic response received by the Ziro Festival of Music 2014, as well as those held in 2012 and 2013, suggests a groundswell of support for great music in the North-East of the country.

The Ziro Festival of Music 2014 went on for 4 great days, and featured some of the most talented musicians from India and abroad. But in particular, this festival is a great event to showcase the most talented musicians in the North-East – from all seven states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.

The visitors to the Ziro Festival come from all over the world. Mainstream India has only this year taken to the Ziro Festival, since this is still a very new event. But there is no doubt that there is a great clamor for this festival, and the fact that it is located in India’s remotest state, Arunachal Pradesh, is actually an advantage than a disadvantage, as this adds a certain uniqueness to the occasion, making it all the more special.

The performers at the Ziro Festival of Music

The Ziro Festival of Music has had some truly terrific musicians performing, who have come from all over the world such as Lee Ranaldo & Steve Shelley (SONIC YOUTH -USA), Lou Majaw, menwhopause, Shaa’ir n Func, Whirling Kalapas, Sky Rabbit, Peter cat recording Co, Guru Rewben Mashangva and many more. This year’s festival showcased some of the best folk musicians from all the North Eastern states as well as a few top class indie acts from all over the world.

Ziro Valley: How is it like?

What makes the Ziro Festival of Music special is the location where it is held – the Ziro valley. Ziro is easily one of the oldest and best developed towns in Arunachal Pradesh and lies at a height of over 5500 feet above sea level surrounded. It is surrounded from all sides by majestic misty mountains.
The Ziro valley is particularly noted for the lovely paddy farms that dominate its landscape. The Indian Bison is the most prominent in the Ziro Valley and can be found all over the place. The Indian Bison is called “Mithun” by the folks here and is regarded to be very auspicious by them.

The people of the Ziro Valley, their culture and way of life

Ziro is inhabited by the most friendly, easy going and hospitable folks you’re ever likely to meet – people of the Apatani tribe. The Apatanis are a non-nomadic, agrarian tribe who have a most harmonious relationship with nature. They follow extremely environmentally friendly methods of farming such as wetland cultivation rather than dry land farming – where trees and forests are burnt. The farmers are also known to cultivate fish along with paddy. Indeed, this dual cultivation of paddy and fish is perhaps unique to the farmers of the Ziro valley.

But don’t mistake the simplicity of the people of Ziro Valley and take them to be illiterate tribals – in fact, Ziro valley has the highest number of schools in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. While the literacy rate in India is 60%, here it’s slightly higher, at 66%. So definitely, the people of the Ziro valley are better educated than people in the rest of India.

How is the Weather like during the Ziro Festival of Music?

The weather at Ziro is simply perfect from March to October, during which the festival is held. The temperatures never rise beyond 27 degrees Celsius. It is as pleasant as it gets, and when it rains, we only see short bursts of rainfall or drizzles.

How to get to the Ziro Festival of Music?

Ziro is present at a distance of 167km from the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar. Those interested in attending the festival may take the flight to Tezpur or Guwahati from Kolkata or Delhi and from there travel by bus to Ziro. Or one may catch the train to North Lakhimpur from New Bongaigaon. Daily buses ply to Ziro from Guwahati, Itanagar and North Lakhimpur.

Do you need any permission to get to Ziro?

Yes. Unfortunately, all visitors to Arunachal Pradesh, whether from the rest of India or from abroad need permissions. Indians should get the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and foreigners must get a Protected Area Permit. This is perhaps the only drawback of getting to the Ziro Festival of Music. Read how to obtain a ILP for Arunachal here.

Click here for Ziro Music Festival 2016 – Camping and Accommodation Information
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  1. Kabir Jamatia

    October 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Really nice info but
    Northeastern Musician from seven states..
    The original 7 states never included Sikkim (no offence to them. I have many friends from there)
    I have performed twice at ZFM.
    I am from Tripura in the band (Yesterdrive)
    Would have been nicer if you included all the states,instead of chucking out Tripura :-)

    • JayB


      October 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Thanks for the info. It was an unintentional typo which has been updated.

  2. Ridhiiiv

    August 1, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Recently I came to know about the Ziro music festival and I am very much interested in going. Can anyone tell me more about this festival?
    Just letting you know that I am 15. So is there any age restriction or something?

  3. Amitabh Sarma

    June 23, 2016 at 6:54 am

    The 2016 Ziro Music Festival Trip tickets are available at http://www.bookmyshow.com. Limited seats though.

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