Location(s) Tiruchirappalli, India
Most recent 2016 (2016)
Founded 1975 (1975)
Attendance 500+ Colleges
Festember is the annual cultural festival of the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (NITT). It is a 4-day event held annually in the third week of September. Founded by NITT students in 1975, Festember has now become one of the largest festivals in South India. What started off as a zero budget fest, grew rapidly with the help of sponsorships and collaborations. It now boasts an annual participant strength of more than 15,000 students from over 500 colleges across India.
- Cultural events
- Gig a Hertz
- Take One
- How Close Can You Get
- Literary Events
- English Lits
- Tamil Lits
- Hindi Lits
- Rolling Reels Film Festival
- Festember Social Responsibility
- Gold Dustbin
- Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS)
- Cancer Awareness Month
- Peace Rally
Festember began in 1975 as an intra college fest. Within a few years, it transformed into a fully fledged inter-college event. Almost 40 years later, it continues to dominate the south Indian college cultural scene, winning the title of Best Cultural Event of the Year, an award given by the Tamil Nadu State Government, in the year 2005.
Since the first Festember in 1975, participating colleges compete to win possession of the Festember Rolling Trophy (famously called the Ilayaraja Trophy). Several celebrities and dignitaries have graced the festival, including Illaiyaraja, Javed Ali, Naresh Iyer, Anuradha Sriram and Ganesh-Kumaresh amongst others.
'Festember', a term coined by one of the then REC-T students, stands for a “Fest to Remember”. It started as a zero budget fest, in a little town called Thuvakudi, and every department of the college pitched in within the area of their expertise. For the first editions, design and ambience was overseen by the Architecture Department. The shields and medals were forged in the workshops of the Mechanical Engineering department.
The college that gets the most points gets the Festember Rolling Trophy. The Rolling Trophy was originally named the "Ilayaraja Trophy" after the maestro himself performed at Festember in 1978. The Festember' X Rolling Trophy was won by Vellore Institute of Technology, while the Festember '11 Rolling Trophy was won by Sastra University. Sastra University won it again in 2012, and managed to maintain their streak for six consecutive years, when they took the trophy in 2013.
Festember '12 and '13 saw the ProShows being conducted in a temporary open-air theatre, a first for Trichy. Festember '14 was the first edition to host the ProShows in a newly constructed open-air theatre with a capacity of more than 5000 people. Festember '15 introduced the Indie stage for the first time. Festember 16' saw a new addition in the name of Culture Gully where a couple of informal events were held.
Festember has had a number of themes in the past.
'ProNites' or 'ProShows', Festember's most anticipated events, usually form the grand finale after the valediction ceremony. Festember has played host to numerous celebrities and dignitaries in the past, including Kadri Gopalnath, Ganesh-Kumaresh, Silk Route, Euphoria, Motherjane, Drums Sivamani, Javed Ali, KK, Benny Dayal, Naresh Iyer and Karthik.
2009 witnessed, for the first time in Festember, a classical performance, by - Sax Kadri Gopalnath on Day 0; Benny Dayal and Bandish mesmerized the audience on the last day. In 2010 - Ghatam Karthik on Day 0, and Anuradha Sriram, Naresh Iyer and Srinivas on Day 3 overwhelmed the crowds. The next year, Ganesh-Kumaresh did their turn with their violin performance on Day 0, followed by a show by Crazy Mohan on Day 1 and Motherjane on Day 2. Suresh Peters, Suchitra and Javed Ali gave heart-rending performances on Day 3.
In Festember '12, Punya Srinivas, the vainika prodigy enthralled the crowds on Day 0, followed by Benny Dayal's band Groove#3 on Day 2. The final day performance was by Andrea Jeremiah, Suraj Jagan and Agam.
Festember 2013's ProShow roster started off with Guitar Prasanna, the Carnatic guitarist. This was followed by riveting concerts by Shakthisree Gopalan, Salim-Sulaiman and another famed guitarist Baiju Dharmajan.
Attendees of Festember 2015 witnessed a great number of ProShow artists, starting with actress and classical dancer Rukmini Vijaykumar. DJs Kash Trivedi and Belgian duo Alvar and Millas performed the next night, and Day 2 saw rock bands Mushroom Lake, Black Letters, Skrat, and a surprise appearance from Shakthisree Gopalan who performed a song with Skrat. The final proshow of Festember ‘15, Popular Nite saw the GJCC filled to capacity as popular Bollywood artists including Pritam Chakraborty, music director of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Abhijeet Sawant and Antara Mitra of Indian Idol fame, and singers Nakash Aziz and Aditi Singh Sharma take over the audience.
Festember 2016 played host to an international cover band, the 'Guns and Hoses' for the very first time. This was the first international rock band to have visited Trichy. The audience was also enthralled by well known romantic numbers by the Bollywood duo, Sachin-Jigar. The inaugration was followed by a classical-fusion performance by Bindu and Ambi Subramaniam. Festember'16 also had an EDM Night with DJ Aceaxe, from Vh1 Supersonic, performing in NIT Trichy.
Festember's cultural events include:
The Flagship event of Festember, ChoreoNite sets the stage for the best dancers of various colleges to showcase their talent. Unlike its contemporaries, there is no separate competition for Eastern and Western. Any style of dance is allowed, any kind of music is allowed. With its graceful moves and wild leaps, ChoreoNite garners a huge audience, and is one of the most visited events of Festember.
In Festember '13, SASTRA won the ChoreoNite and took home the trophy.
In Festember '15, the Eastern event was judged by the famous dancer and actress Rukmini Vijayakumar, while the Western event was judged by Ravi Varma, founder and choreographer of the B-FAB dance crew. The winners of the Western category were Sastra University, while Christ College bagged the first place in the Eastern category.
Shruthilaya is the classical music competition for vocals and instrumentals. The stage has heard innumerable high-level musical masterpieces in the past. Participation is highly selective with limited entries allowed to take part. The uniqueness of Shruthilaya lies in its Carnatic Quiz, which represents a touch of the avant-garde.
Tarangini, the singing competition of Festember, regularly attracts droves of budding artists, who bring the audience to life with their peppy, feet-tapping playlists of Tamil and Hindi songs.
Gig-a-hertz is the semi-pro rock band event that draws enormous crowds. This event is for those who prefer their music to be loud, raw and ferocious. It is famous for running late into the night and still maintaining its audience. It is also considered to be the most selective event, with only 10 out of 150 total entries being selected to perform.
The band Saturn Night Sky won Gigahertz in Festmeber '15. Gluee, a semi-pro band, took home the first place in Festember '13. The Down Troddence, or TDT, as they are known to fans, won it in 2012.
The pioneering Fashion Event of Trichy City. Fashionitas was introduced in the 2012 edition of Festember as an Individual Event, offering the highest Cash Prize for an individual Event in Festember.
Take-One is the short-movie making competition of Festember. Movies with any theme or genre are permitted, with a duration of up to ten minutes. With eminent judges from the movie industry and themes ranging from fantasy to social messages, Take-One remains the viewer’s delight.
Every year, the Thespians society of NIT-Trichy organize "Theatrix", a 45-minute dramatics competition. Original scripts, pre-written scripts and adaptations are permitted, however the play should not have been staged at any earlier Festember festival. With major participation from all the big colleges, audiences witness some chilling performances in front of the spotlight.
Teams arrange their dominoes within a one-metre square area marked on the floor. At the end of the competition, no domino is allowed to cross the perimeter and the best arrangement wins the prize.
How Close Can You Get
A 100-word detailed description of a black-and-white photograph is given to each team. Based on this description, the participants need to sketch the photograph. Judging is based on how similar their sketch turns out to be, compared to the original photograph, and also on their artistic skill.
Graffiti painting competition, where the topic will be given on the spot and all necessary materials will be provided. Judging is based on degree of adherence to the theme, creativity, style, usage of the space provided and artistic quality.
Around 40 literary events take place each year in the Tamil, English and Hindi Lits categories. These events generally witnesses the most number of participants who battle it out to win with their quick-wittedness.
Around 13 events are conducted each year, including quizzes, debates, JAM, DumbC, Crossword, and many others. Winners in the past have been from IITM, Sastra, VIT, SVCE, and SRM, amongst others.
14 literary events consisting of crowd-favorites like Kalakkal Galatta, Sakalakala Attam, Uyarthini Semmozhi, etc. bring out the importance and pride of the Tamil language. A new online event called Tamil Labyrinth was also recently introduced. DG Vaishnav, Kumaraguru, MEPCO, JJCET, Sastra, SRM and EBET have regularly topped these events in the past.
Rochak Mantrana, Vaad Vivaad, Antakshari, De Dana Dan, Halka Fulka and Taatkalik Bhashan are just a few of the 13-odd Hindi literary events conducted. IITM, VIT and SRM have been proven to be the best till date.
Workshops form the soul of Festember. Every year, around 5 to 6 workshops are conducted on topics ranging from areas as diverse as Fencing to Glassblowing, and they are a huge crowd-puller. They last for a few hours, giving participants a basic understanding of the topic, and still allowing them time to enjoy the other festivities. The themes for the workshops are kept as unique a possible, so that every student gets a chance to learn something new each year.
Rolling Reels Film Festival
Rolling Reels Film Festival is an integral part of Festember. Started in the year 2015 as one of the outreaches of Festember, RRFF is a short film festival that looks to find young talent from the many film makes in India- a platform for young film industry aspirers to make their presence known.. It is a two day cinematic extravaganza with several workshops sure to enthrall young film makers and actors who will get to interact with experts in the industry which is sure to help them hone their skills and talents. RRFF 2015, the first edition, was held in Hyderabad at Legendary Kollywood superstar Akkineni Nagarjuna's studio Annapoorna Film Studios, attended by directors Balaji Mohan, Madhumitha and many others. The presence of yester year actress Amala Akkineni made the fest more memorable. This edition of RRFF also had the association with Thoongavanam, the blockbuster from Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan. RRFF 2016, held in Chennai at BOFTA was a bigger success. With over 250 entries from across the globe, the movies were judged by the late Biren Das Sharma, Professor, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata. This edition had an art direction workshop conducted by T.Ramalingam of Kabali fame and a guest lecture by Actor and Director Prathap Pothen.
Gigahertz is a semi-pro rock band that draws enormous crowds and provides a great opportunity for Festember to spread its wings beyond Trichy. Preliminary rounds of Gigahertz take place in Chennai and Bangalore every year.
Respawn is a gaming outreach held in Bangalore in September 2016.
Festember Social Responsibility
Festember Social Responsibility (FSR) is the social responsibility wing of Festember. Since its inception in 2012, FSR has embarked upon various endeavors to benefit the masses through many events, known for their creative names. Due to the efforts of a group of hardworking and inspired students, FSR has managed to go beyond the college boundaries to various orphanages, schools, and cities. The flagship initiatives of FSR are:
The Gold Dustbin event, usually held at the end of the academic year, is the first event in the FSR calendar. Student volunteers collect items from hostels on campus, and after thorough segregation, these items are sold. The money acquired by selling these items is used to organize the ‘Gift a Birthday’ event at the Synthika Trust in Lalgudi, Trichy. In 2015, the money generated from this event was used to set up a library in the REC Middle School in an event called 'Pages'.
Pages was social responsibility outreach conducted by Festember in Chettinad Vidyashram School on 2nd September 2016 in association with the NGO Teach for India and popular children's magazine Tinkle. Pages is primarily a book collection drive where school students, teachers contribute books which would go as proceeds to Teach for India to educate children in rural India. The event was launched with sub-editor of Tinkle, Sean D'Mello, as the chief guest who later conducted a small workshop with the school students focusing on story writing.
Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS)
A small step towards this was the Young Astronomers Talent Search organized by Festember Social Responsibility at St Johns Vestry Anglo Indian High School in association with Tata Steel and Space Kids. A diversity of events such as model exhibits, essay writing, word games, role play and debate were conducted. Students set up astronomy models, centered on the work done by ISRO for the exhibits. Each contest had two categories for students of standard 6 to 8 and standard 8 to 10. An initiative to promote awareness of astronomy among students and tribute A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s indisputable contribution to the field.
Cancer Awareness Month
Festember took up several initiatives to spread awareness about Cancer and to raise funds for cancer victims. A breast cancer awareness session was conducted in campus by specialists from Harshamitra Super Specialty Cancer Centre in Trichy. Festember also joined the No Shave November moment where volunteers were asked to give up shaving for a month and donate the amount typically spent for that purpose.The amount collected was a big sum of Rs 20,000 and it was collected from over 1000 participants. The money collected was donated to the Indian Prostate Cancer Foundation, an organisation dedicated towards raising awareness of Prostate cancer in men. The money was then used to conduct a screening session for Armed Force veterans.
The paperback initiative of FSR which aims at reducing paper wastage. This event involved students actively volunteering to give their unused exam answer sheets which would otherwise go waste. The collected sheets were reused in various Festember events . Also the team didn’t restrict themselves to the fest and took a step forward to serve the society. Booklets were made from the remaining sheets and distributed to Illuminate, a government certified charitable trust that aims at developing the lives of the children of the marginalized communities. This Paperback initiative is unique and a true realization of FSR’s goal to create ripples of change throughout the year and for the years to come .
"Walk For Peace" event conceived with the idea of taking the message "Individual peace contributes to world peace" was organized by Heartfulness Meditation Organization (USA). The event started with HFN relaxation to the participants, and followed up with a rally through artery of the city with high visibility. With support from the corporation of Tiruchirappalli, the event was a grand success with over 600 participants.
With the idea of reviving the lost art form of Street Play or "Therukoothu", Festember Social Responsibility visited two schools in Tiruchirapalli – Kamakoti Vidyalaya and Bishop Heber Higher secondary school during the week before Festember. In true therukoothu style, the team brought out the importance of physical activity for children of the current generation, complete with meaningful songs, relatable characters, and humorous wordplay.
In 2013, in an attempt to increase awareness about social issues in area of large audience, the FSR team headed to Trichy and commenced Metrole. They marched on the streets of Trichy and conducted a rally to educate the masses about the depreciation of the Indian rupee, and what the common man could do to alleviate the problem. During the course of the rally, impromptu street plays were held, focusing on related issues like Brain drain, Gold Trade, buying foreign products against indigenous products, etc.
Festember was initially conducted on a shoestring budget. Over time, the event's reputation has strengthened substantially and various corporate sponsors including Adobe, Nimbuzz and Aircel have contributed funding.
Major corporate sponsorship in Festember includes (but is not limited to) the following sponsors: