Govt should focus on village festivals to boost tourism, says Marius Fernandes
Panaji :Pilerne reverberated with the sound of clanging coconut shells, as villagers put on a spirited display of camaraderie at the first-ever Matiechem Fest (Festival of the Soil) held on Sunday.
Curated by Marius Fernandes and Gwendolyn de Ornelas, the festival held at the St John the Baptist Church precinct was attended by nearly 1,000 visitors
Fernandes, who has been organising various community-based events for the past 22 years, said that such village festivals can boost Goa tourism in a big way.
“I think the state government needs to focus on such village festivals as a new type of event. People need to be a part of the local festivals in the villages. This is our 57th festival. We have got a very dynamic tourism minister Rohan Khaunte who is forward thinking..He was in Sucorro where I used to organise festivals, and i hope with him and other stakeholders, this could be the future of Goa tourism,” he said.
The highlight of the festival was village ‘passoi’ (flag march) with brass band, street play and Konkani skit, mando and fugdi street dances based on traditional Goan occupations, and local dishes cooked by the villagers themselves.
“This festival was a kind of a startup because we had a new brass and music band. It was a high-risk event. The passoi with brass band and street play brough konkani and theatre, and people with coconut shells created percussion. Street dancing.does not happen in Bardez, except for carnivals and not in villages. So we succeeded in showcasing Goan culture, ” he said.
Ornelas said that the festival was mainly women-driven. “During the past few days that I have been here, I saw that the women were the ones who were on the forefront. They came forward, choreographed dance performances, and cooked the dishes, she said.
She also said that the idea behind such festivals was revival of old traditions, culture, and heritage of Goa that can be passed on to the future generations
“Our festivals are revival, ethhic, and cross community, and it binds communities together. People from various walks of life meet at the festival, and it really brings everyone together,” she said.
Parish Priest Fr Derick Fernandes said that the festival was a great success. “We got an overwhelming response. It’s a historic fest, with many firsts. We hope to continue this festival in future, keeping in mind the secular element of our village which is important,” he said.
The ‘balcaocheo gozali’ had historian Prajal Sakardande sharing information about the village, talk by horticulturalist Miguel Braganza, and music performances by Konkani singer O’Luv and percussionist Carlos Gonsalves.
630 percussion instruments were counted and performed as part of the world record, adjudicated by The Pinnacle World Record Goa.
The ‘zero waste and no plastic’ campaign by the organisers saw a positive response, with many citizens turning up with their own cups and plates.
Another highlight of the fest was the launch of the Pilerne Startup, a weekly market that will be held every Thursday.
The Pilerne Art Socio Cultural Association (PASCA), and Pilerne Ghumot Girls Group were also unveiled at the Fest.