Watch | Kalolsavam: Why is Kerala’s school arts festival special?

Why is Kerala’s school arts festival special?

A video on Kerala’s annual State school arts festival

Updated - January 04, 2024 02:26 pm IST

Published - January 06, 2023 06:21 pm IST

In the 2024 edition of Kerala State School Arts Festival (Kalolsavam) which is being held in Kollam district, some 14,000 contestants will showcase their talents in 239 events. Competitions will be held across 24 venues. The organisers have set up a 60,000-sq.ft pandal at Asramam Maidan that can accommodate over 10,000 persons at a time

By the scale of participation and the number of events, Kerala’s annual State school arts festival is widely regarded as the biggest of its kind in Asia.  

First held in 1957, Kalolsavam is a state-level competition conducted by the Kerala government for students from classes 8 to 12 of State schools.  

It is held every year in a different district. The 2023 edition was held in Kozhikode.

There are as several competitive events, including performances of classical dances like Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathakali; Drama, Carnatic music, light music, instrumental music, Yakshaganam, painting, story-writing, versification, recitation, mimicry, and mono-act. 

The festival also provides a crucial space to keep art forms such as Chavittu Natakam, Ottan Thullal, Margam Kali and Kathaprasangam alive.  

New events have been added over the years, making the festival bigger and bringing into focus lesser-known art forms. 

Moreover, a food pavilion managed by the veteran chef Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri has also been set up.

Where artistes are discovered  

For thousands of students in schools with the Kerala State syllabus, it is the ultimate stage to compete against the best performers from across Kerala.  

Several well-known actors, dancers and musicians from Kerala had their first date with fame at the festival.  

Those names include singers K.J. Yesudas, P. Jayachandran, K.S. Chithra, Sujatha, Minmini, Srinivas, Venugopal and Harisankar as well as actors Manju Warrier, Navya Nair and Vineeth. 

Reporting: PK Ajith Kumar, A Mithosh Joseph, Navamy Sudhish, AS Jayanth, Aabha Raveendran, Biju Govind

Videos: Sakeer Hussain, A. Mithosh Joseph, Biju Govind, P.K. Ajith Kumar

Script: Aswin V.N.

Voiceover: Gopika K.P.

Production: Reenu Cyriac

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