It seems like yesterday. The deserted roads. The masked faces. The closed shops.
As in the rest of the world, fear was palpable on the face of Kozhikode, during those days of lockdown induced by the coronavirus. This past one week though, the emotion most visible in the city was joy.
If the city, and the rest of Kerala, wanted one event to push behind the bad memories of COVID-19, it was the State School Arts Festival, the 61st edition of which came to an end on Saturday. To say that it was a resounding success would be an understatement.
The people of Kozhikode turned up in large numbers for most of the events on all the five days. At a given time, there were even 20,000 people at Capt. Vikram Maidan, the main venue.
Even the closing ceremony was attended by some 15,000 art lovers. And they were in for a treat too. K.S. Chithra, one of the biggest stars this festival has produced, rendered the song that had her the first prize in Light Music (girls) in 1978.
Light Music was indeed one of the highlights of this year’s festival, too. Several sweet voices were heard at the St. Michael’s GHSS, especially in the contest HSS Girls.
There were a lot of quality performances in many other events, like Drama, though the same cannot be said about some of the classical dances. Maybe, the students were affected as there was no State Festival for the past three years.
But there was one dance event that lived up to its rich tradition – Group Dance. The HS contest was perhaps the biggest hit the festival, even surpassing Oppana.
As usual, the organisation of the festival was nearly flawless. The department of Education and the teachers deserve praise. It’s not easy to conduct an event that has around 11,000 participants and 239 events.
Yes, there were controversies too - like about not serving non-vegetarian food at the festival. But this festival is likely to be remembered for better things.