Music, food carnival & more- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: From grand musical concerts, multi-cuisine options and storytelling sessions to a well-curated trail for visitors to explore the state capital’s art, culture and cuisines, the second edition of the fortnight-long ‘Dot Fest’ organised as part of the hockey carnival this year was a complete entertainment package for both visitors and locals during the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023. 

The impressive fest that concluded on a high note on January 29 drew over 6 lakh visitors from across the globe in 15 days. It recorded over 40,000 visitors a day, making it one of the biggest cultural events the city has ever seen. 

Here are some highlights…

Bhubaneswar live show 
Bhubaneswar Live, the highlight of the Dot Fest, witnessed performances by a galaxy of stars over a period of 10 days. 

Singer Harshdeep Kaur

Hosted at the IDCO exhibition ground from January 15- 24, it saw performances by K-pop band Blackswan, singer Guru Randhawa and actress Disha Patani at the curtain-raiser. The final event was marked by power-packed shows of celebrated singers like Sukhwinder Singh, Pawandeep Rajan and Arunita Kanjilal. 

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Ustad Taufiq Qureshi as well as stand-up comedian Sunil Grover and singer Shilpa Rao also performed at the event giving the audience an experience they will cherish till the next Dot Fest. 

Around 11 Odia stars including Dipti Rekha Padhi, Pragyan Hota, Lisa Mishra, Rituraj Mohanty, rapper Big Deal, Swayam Padhi, Satyajeet Jena and Aseema Panda also mesmerised the audience with their performance.

Learning traditions via trails 
Under the banner of ‘Ekamra Walks’, this year’s festival saw around 2,000 people turn up for over 80 walks. These walks were organised in three categories such as nature trails, food trails and museum trails giving visitors an opportunity to explore the local art and culture of the region, food of the temple town and its traditions. These trails will continue till February 13.

Stories from around world
The Bhubaneswar Storytelling Festival (BhuFesto), a part of the Dot Fest was organised by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in collaboration with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Odisha Tourism and city-based Bakul Foundation. Storytellers of national and international repute including Neelesh Mishra, Nupur Agrawal, Kuna Tripathy and USA-based Antonio Rocha presented their tales from around the world to people of all age groups. 

These story sessions took place in four city parks—Buddha Jayanti Park at Chandrasekharpur, Indira Gandhi Park at Unit II, APJ Abdul Kalam park near SUM Hospital and Kalabhoomi at Pokhariput.  They were held from January 14 and 17, between 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm. 

BDA vice-chairman Balwant Singh said students from different schools were also brought and encouraged to narrate their stories during these sessions. “BhuFesto acted as a platform for us to create storytellers from our city,” he said.

City’s transformation in pics
The Dot Fest 2023 also hosted Sebe-O-Ebe (Then and Now), a photo exhibition of over 450 pictures showcasing the transformation of Bhubaneswar, which was organised by Ramakanta Samantaray.  Every day, the exhibition saw an attendance of around 5,000 people 

Inclusive celebration
The Dot Fest emerged as a platform of promoting inclusiveness in the city as thousands from underprivileged sections were also invited on many occasions to watch and enjoy the Bhubaneswar Live Show along with other events. People from different walks of life including transgenders, homeless people were offered free passes to enjoy the musical nights at the Exhibition ground, setting an example of a public-friendly and livable city. 

“From the beginning of the festival, we have been promoting inclusiveness and equitable representation from all walks of life in celebration of the fest and the Hockey World Cup…” said the BDA VC. 

International food fest
With a footfall of 20,000 people every day, the international food fest was one of the most interesting additions to the Dot Fest. Cuisine from 16 countries that were participating in the World Cup was presented to the people as a part of the food extravaganza.  This food carnival included six international stalls and 24 state stalls that were set up to present delicacies from around the globe.  The food festival also featured government-run stalls including those of Millet Mission, Mission Shakti and Koraput Coffee. Curated by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO), the International Food Festival got a total business of Rs 2 crore throughout the fortnight.

Night flea market gives unique shopping experience 

A flea market (night bazaar) set up by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) at Ekamra Haat and Exhibition ground as part of the Dot Fest offered a unique and one-of-its-kind shopping experience to visitors during the Hockey World Cup. 

Organised by Sonal N More of the OCAL & ALBA and designed by Ukraine national Yuri and his friend Clemens, the market remained open between 5 pm-12 am from January 15 to 29. It showcased products of over 270 local artisans, new-age designers and entrepreneurs on rotation over a period of 15 days. Apart from 50 stalls at the Ekamra Haat, 35 were set up at the night bazaar, while Utkalika (handicraft cooperation) also set up 33 stalls in the market especially for the Dot Fest. 

Products ranging from wooden articles, jewellery, creative items, scarves and stoles for women, sandals and other products were available at this exotic market at attractive prices. Handlooms and handicrafts of Odisha were sold at the stalls set up by Utkalika.

Such was the response to the market that it recorded a turnover of nearly Rs 1 crore within 15 days. 
The Night Flea Market also hosted three stages that provided more than 100 regional artistes a chance to showcase their handicraft and talent. They entertained visitors with Sambalpuri, Dhemsa, Ghumura, Paika Akhada, Nabadurga, Jodi Shankha and many other folk art forms. “The three stages were no less than any launchpad for the new artistes,” said Sonal. 

She said the flea market that offered a platform to several entrepreneurs to get connected to a larger market will surely improve their sales margin in the post-festival period. 

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