Asia’s biggest. Kerala School Kalolsavam, the State School Arts Festival, has been described thus for decades.
The numbers could actually support that claim, even this year. The 61st edition of the festival, which concludes here on Friday, has about 11,000 participants competing in 239 events.
Diversity and scale
When you look at the sheer variety of art forms the contests are held in, you would get a fair idea about the magnitude of the festival. Where would you find separate competitions in different styles of India’s classical dances like Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattom, Kuchipudi and Kathakali? And, boys and girls have separate contests in all those dance forms.
Even for music, you have competitions for vocal in different genres, such as light music, classical, G hazal, M appila Pattu and K athakali Sangeetham, again separately for boys and girls. And you could contest in just about every musical instrument—be it guitar, violin, guitar, flute, tabla, etc.
Then, there are the crowds. A sea of 30,000 people turned up to watch Oppana at Malappuram in the 2013 edition of the festival. And over the years, there have been crowds of more than 20,000 for other popular events like Group Dance, especially if the host happened to be one of the districts in the Malabar region.
The number of people being fed at the festival could also make some kind of a record. More than 22,000 people were provided lunch on Thursday and a couple of thousand more on Saturday.
In all aspects, the event always bore the enormity to be Asia’s biggest. While there was no way to ascertain this before, now, with the Internet giving access to a flood of information, it can be more of less confirmed that there is no other fete of a similar genre to match the magnitude of the State School Arts Festival.
Also, the claim that the festival is the continent’s largest has not been disputed yet. Yet maybe it is time to ask if the festival or competition is indeed the world’s biggest for schoolchildren?