In 2012, 150 musicians, artists, photographers and filmmakers from across the country drew in over 1000 guests from around the world, to celebrate the Ziro Music Festival {ZFM} in Arunachal Pradesh. With 20 top Indian bands, ZFM 2012 was a huge success, and this September, Ziro will host the second edition of what has been called India’s largest outdoor music festival, The Ziro Music Festival.

What is Ziro | Just 167km from the capital, Itanagar, Ziro is one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh. Situated in a valley, it is at a height of over 5500 feet above sea level, with a beautiful view of the mountains that surround it.

Ziro is home to a simple, friendly people – the Apatanis. They are very big on nature and its preservation. A valley lush with paddy farms, Ziro is known for its unique paddy cum fish cultivation, and the Indian Bison.

Apparently back in the day, Apatani women were seen sporting facial tattoos. So if you do spot some of the older ladies with these tattoos, please get their consent before you try and take any pictures.

The Festival, 2013 |

When |  20, 21, 22 September, 2013

Who’s playing this year |  From bands that promote their region’s culture, to others that do mashups of world music styles; from young bands that are only a year old, to veterans that have toured the world; Ziro features a host of music styles. Bands like Menwhopause {they won the 2008 Jack Daniel’s Best Band of the Year and have toured the US twice}; Or Gandu Circus {loud, noisy, dark, stupid and political… and they rap in Bangla! A mash up of electronica, punk, Asian dub, and Kolkata street vibe, they’ve performed all over in the last two years, including Europe}; or Purple Fusion {Folk Fusion band from Nagaland, the band works with traditional Naga and other folk music, aiming to promote Nagaland’s culture through music.}

Look for the complete lineup at http://zirofestival.com/portfolio

What to carry | Temperatures here range from about 20-27 degrees Celsius, from March to end of October. So basically, you’re looking at gorgeous weather! Carry light woolens, a light jacket, and just to be a step ahead of the weather gods, carry a  raincoat and gumboots.

How to get there |

Fly | You could fly to the nearest airport, Tezpur, but flights to here often get cancelled without reason. A better bet is to fly to Guwahati and make the road trip.

Train |  The nearest railhead is North Lakhimpur by Arunachal Express from New Bongaigaon.

Bus | Take a direct bus from Guwahati, Itanagar or North Lakhimpur.

Important Information | All visitors – Indian and foreigners – to Arunachal Pradesh need special permits to enter the state. Indians need an Inner Line Permit {ILP} and foreigners require a Protected Area Permit.

Click here for details on the permit.

Where to stay | There are many lodging options for festival goers – from hotels, to lodges, homestays and even camps, but Ziro is a small town, so you want to book well in advance.

Tickets | Single day passes to the festival are Rs 1000 a day. A three day pass is Rs 2500.

Killer Budget Deal | There is what is called ‘The Budget Ride’, which includes a bus ride from Guwahati to Ziro and back, one meal each way, the inner line permit {for Indians only}, as well as a three day festival pass, all for Rs. 5500. Book now here: http://zirofestival.com/tickets

For more information on booking tickets, booking camps or hotels, or anything else regarding the festival, please click here http://zirofestival.com/

{Image courtesy: http://zirofestival.com}