Pack a picnic basket folks, and be prepared to lug a rug!
An evening’s worth of live entertainment awaits us at Aladin Park today, as Karachi Mubarak Festival – the city’s first touring performing arts festival – is scheduled to kick off at 6pm.
Organised by Nida Butt and Hamza Jafri in support of the I Am Karachi movement, Karachi Mubarak is all about instilling a sense of pride and ownership in the citizens of Karachi by reinvigorating its forlorn public spaces. The festival they’ve planned for the purpose promises to be a full-on party in the park!
What to expect
A marching band will usher us into the festival arena this evening, where attendees will be treated to a flurry of dance performances, including ethnic Sindhi, Balochi and Punjabi numbers, all performed by Karachiites who represent the mix of ethnicities that make Karachi the wonderful melting pot of cultures it is. The popular improv comedy troupe Lol Waalay will also entertain crowds with their rib-tickling antics, and prepare to be bowled over by the moves of newly-formed dance group, We Are One, made up of students from Nida and Hamza’s Lyari Stars program. A musical finale by Sindhi folk singer Mai Nimani, who has come all the way from Hyderabad, will close the festivities today.
Change in plan
After the launch event today, Karachi Mubarak will proceed to Frere Hall and Port Grand on May 10 and May 16 respectively.
Initially, Karachi Mubarak was planned as a four-day festival that was to visit Lyari and Orangi before moving southwards, but the organisers have had to change plans for administrative reasons.
“We had voluntarily moved from Orangi to Aladin Park, but the Lyari change was a last minute cancellation for administrative reasons,” festival director Nida Butt told Dawn.com.
“It was a hard decision as our marketing effort had already started, but a necessary one. We hope that in 2016, Karachi Mubarak is able to go to Lyari and many other troubled parts of the city.”
What makes Karachi Mubarak truly special is that it is aiming to be more inclusive than others. When asked what she hopes to achieve by holding the festival’s first event ‘on the other side of Clifton Bridge’, Nida said: “I don’t consider (Aladin Park) the other side of the bridge. It’s time we all started thinking as one people, for we are one people. It is time to celebrate our differences. Karachi is a melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups. There is so much colour, diversity and richness as each group shares centuries’ old songs, traditions, music, folklore and dance. Karachi Mubarak aims to celebrate this very cultural diversity. We hope you all will attend with your family AND your support/domestic staff.”
The festival at Aladin Park is free to attend, but the venue’s standard rates of admission apply.