Viva Vaddo Festival (Goa)

By Audio Pervert - 4/19/2023

Since 2013, The Blackout Festival [xprmntl subcultr] has featured a wide spectrum of emerging subcultures. Oscillating between India and Switzerland, over time Blackout Festival transformed into a multifaceted affair, yet always embodying openness, spontaneity and opportunity - for all the stakeholders. Shazeb Sheik is one of the few Indian curators who can defy (subvert) the trappings of profit, visibility and corporate coercion. Instead creating temporary spaces, where artists of varying disciplines exhibit, learn and collaborate. The 2020 pandemic struck a severe blow on the production of all such experimental arts, music, events etc. The unfolding flight based on uncertainty, the dislocation of urban artists and a general collapse lead to the need for change in direction. A similar trajectory was in the making for Blackout festival, of relocation, reorientation and decentralization.

In it's new environment (Goa), the Blackout Festival transformed into 'Viva Vaddo' (hail the neighborhood in Konkani). The introduction to the festival states "The pandemic triggered an exodus of people from all walks of life and parts of India, to these sleepy villages of Goa. This incredible cultural phenomenon that we are living in ... we can start getting to know each other...".  A distributed experience, of various disciplines, instead of a centrally located event. Viva Vaddo as a series of events, was 'local' in terms of curation, based around the land, the people, the artists and set within modest and beautiful locations. Far from the density and noise of EDM festivals and the parts of Goa ravaged by tourism and real estate, the organizers and hosts opted for small, viable and distinct experiences. Places lesser known or temporal...

27th Jan - 5th Feb. Viva Vaddo stretched over 9 day stacking 30+ events, dotted inside an enclave of Bardez (North Goa) within villages such as Moira, Nachinola, Aldona and Bastora to name a few. They call it "hyper-local". Neighborhood Learning, DIY Workshops, Sound Art, Cuisine, Coding, Photography, Gardening, Storytelling, Menstrual Hygiene, Creative Writing, Ecology, Self-Defense and lots of "hidden" parties marked a 'chockablock' roster of events.

The festival could have been amplified better in terms of outreach and footfall, however in it's first version, the potential is more about setting an example, creating new paths. The "original locals", "settlers", artists and practitioners, the newly arrived and those just in transit, could all assimilate and participate, perhaps because certain parts of Goa still enable openness and diversity. Look forward to Viva Vaddo 2024!

Photos by Nupur D'Souza

Viva Vaddo Festival Website

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