LaLaLand festival celebrates diversity: Noreen Van Holstein

LaLaLand founder, Noreen Van Holstein, explains how the family-friendly, sustainable festival to be held on on Dec 9 and 10 has grown since 2018
LaLaLand festival is where people experience the joy of community.
LaLaLand festival is where people experience the joy of community. Photo: LaLaLand

Goa's air is festive and when it comes to festivals, all roads lead to Don Joao in Nagoa, Bardez, to the LaLaLand Festival this December 9 and 10. Since its first edition in Goa in March 2018, LaLaLand has grown into a festival with over 2,000 visitors, three stages and myriads of performances. In a tete-a-tete with Gomantak Times Digital, LaLaLand founder, Noreen Van Holstein, shared the journey of the festival since 2018.

Q

How did the idea for the LaLaLand Festival come about?

A

LaLaLand was created  in 2018 in the sculpture garden of MOG (Museum of Goa), PIlerne, by Deep Kashyap Deka and me. The colourful Carpet of Joy reflects our ideas – good art, mixed with a sustainability message – created by the community and visited by people from all over the world.

I come from the Netherlands where the festival scene is very developed. We draw inspiration from festivals like 'Shambala' and the 'Parade'. We use the uniqueness of Goa and the talent it attracts from all over the world. At LaLaLand, students from local music schools share the stage with internationally-acclaimed musicians and artistes who bring together elements that would not normally be seen or found.

LaLaLand founder, Noreen Van Holstein.
LaLaLand founder, Noreen Van Holstein.Photo: LaLaLand
Q

Who is LaLaLand for?

A

LaLaLand is for families, which does not mean that it is just for people with children. Not at all. It is for everyone who is in for a good vibe and interesting performances.

Since its first edition in Goa in March 2018, it has grown into a festival with over 2,000 visitors, three stages, 20+ performances in two days, roaming acts, international food stalls, art exhibitions, a creative corner, family funk town and a flea market. The daytime workshops (called LaLaDays) offer people the opportunity to interact with the performers and introduce them to a wide variety of skills, from belly dance to a workshop on AI in art, from aerial yoga to percussion with Dharavi Rocks. You can create your own merchandise or be part of a theatrical selfie performance.

At LaLaLand in Goa, witness contemporary circus, acrobatics, music, dance, theatre and performance art.
At LaLaLand in Goa, witness contemporary circus, acrobatics, music, dance, theatre and performance art. Photo: LaLaLand
Q

What is the main aim of the festival? 

A

LaLaLand’s objective is to break boundaries and establish connections between people. We use the ancient phrase Vasudhaiva kutumbakam – the world is one family – as our guiding principle. This post-modern idea originated from the Indus Valley thousands of years ago and is the current G20 leadership slogan.

An exchange of cultures and artforms contributes to LaLaLand's mission to open people’s minds.
An exchange of cultures and artforms contributes to LaLaLand's mission to open people’s minds. Photo: LaLaLand
Q

How does the festival connect communities across Goa?

A

The programming of LaLaLand in Goa is at the crossroads of contemporary circus, acrobatics, music, dance, theatre and performance art and has a mix of local, national and international performances. LaLaLand makes use of the fact that Goa hosts an incredible pool of talent and attracts artists from all over India and the world. Through programming, LaLaLand brings different communities together, weaving electronic music with classical influences, from African beats and dance to Acrobatic performances, from poetry to rap.

Through programming, we aim to break boundaries and stereotypes. You can expect a male belly dancer and a queer performance. An exchange of cultures and artforms contributes to our mission to open people’s minds by bringing them something they have not experienced before.

The festival is set to connect communities across Goa.
The festival is set to connect communities across Goa. Photo: LaLaLand
Q

How many local and international artists are participating in the festival? What kind of performances can people expect?

A

We have music, dance, theatre, acrobatics, workshops and art for every age. The festival is set to connect communities across Goa and the world, through 25 amazing, live, national and international acts. Get immersed by Tritha’s Electro-Raaga concert or move your body with Kula Skoro’s African Dance, watch breathtaking acrobatics and magic tricks, mime and theatre, AI art, listen to enchanting and rebelling poetry or enjoy the sounds of a variety of live music.

LaLaLand aims to promote the unique culture of Goa and celebrate its diversity. At LaLaLand, we have a performance by Bongisio, a Merces-based Konkani rapper, singer, songwriter and music producer, known to represent social issues in his songs as he performs his special act curated for the festival.

LaLaLand festival is where people experience the joy of community.
Chapoli dam in Goa is Canacona's lifeline
Q

What are the unique features of this edition of the festival in Goa?

A

If you have been to LaLaLand before, you can expect the same vibe of magic happiness. We have extended the timings this year. Our doors will be open at noon on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday.

People are welcome to take part in our amazing workshops – aerial yoga in the morning, an ecstatic dance session by the internationally acclaimed Dutch DJ Esta Polyesta, or grab the unique opportunity to attend the ‘If you can speak you can sing’ workshop by classically trained Bengali musician, Tritha. We have Ari Jayaprakash, one of the two artists of the AI art exhibition ‘Nothing is what it seems’, sharing his knowledge and opening the dialogue on AI during his workshop.

It is a family-friendly, clean and sustainable festival. LaLaLand is committed to sustainability. Trash4Cash, a unique initiative, offers people the opportunity to buy a festival ticket by donating trash. An artwork will be created from the collected materials by renowned artist Subodh Kerkar.

It is a festival that is truly inclusive. This festival unifies and cuts across age, gender, class and more. Those with special needs are given extra care and attention so they can enjoy the festival as much as others.

The LaLaLand Festival is an immersive experience, with unexpected acts and performances.
The LaLaLand Festival is an immersive experience, with unexpected acts and performances. Photo: LaLaLand
Q

What do you want people to take home?

A

We want everybody to leave LaLaLand with a glow of excitement and happiness created by the immersive experience, overall ambience and great and unexpected acts and performances. We let you leave with a spark. And we will give you a sapling on your way out, so that you take the magic of LaLaLand home.

For more information on LaLaLand, check out www.lalalandfestival.in

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