ON A PASTEL CLOUD NINE AT THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS: HOLI NYC
PAINT YOUR DAY RAINBOW
Nothing says “Hello spring” more than handfuls of beautiful pastels flying through the air to the upbeat sounds of an enthusiastic brass section.
It was a joyous weekend as New Yorkers finally were able to shed the layers and show some skin at one of the first outdoor events of the year. This liberating feeling of leaving the hindering cold behind and stepping confidently into the colorful fire, was not only provoked by the sunshine but inspired by the reason for the celebration.
Our city, like many others, have adopted Holi Phagwa, the Hindu festival of colors, which commemorates the coming of the fruitful season, but way more importantly, signifies “togetherness” and the loosening strictness of social structures. Luckily, Bushwick may arguably be one of the most accepting and diverse hubs in the world, (can we say that?), yet ticket sales always go flying for anything that takes us out of the decorum of “normal” life.
In its fifth year,Festival of Colors: Holi NYC repurposed elements that were loved in the past (artists’ work, favored bands, the Quetzal Bus) and introduced a new location that catered to the 2,000+ person crowd and the dust we wished could stain the streets rainbow forever. Prepared for warfare with Holi Gulal in hand and temporarily clean white attire, attendees danced through the crowd and got lost in the splendor of playful joy with strangers. Embracing the mess was the only way to survive the battle… a constant surrender to losing your identity and becoming one. Climbing on art cars, the scene became a colored charcoal painting of abstract people with a perfectly distinct New York City skyline in the distance. If it only takes some pigmented powder to bring us together and make the harsh city landscape look like a dream, I couldn’t help but imagine helicopters dumping Holi across Manhattan so that everyone could stop for a minute and get a taste of the beauty that’s going down in Brooklyn.
The cultural lineup became a perfect soundtrack to match energy levels and bring elements of India’s roots to the day. Similar to last year, DJ Vic(with live Dhol drums) had the crowd “powder pumping” to iconic dance tracks and influences of India pop music. Lucky Chops, before they headed on their Euro tour, brought the celebratory spirit as the best and redefined brass band around with catchy originals and reimagined covers performed with their distinguishable dance moves. As the sun was setting, M.A.K.U* played sweet and tropical music, a full sound of an electric mix of instruments and highlights of percussion accents. Beats continued through to the night as attendees gave their last dance or rushed home to their showers… or to the after party.
Whether it was the mood boosting lineup, or the sense of adventure from being in an unusual beautified industrial lot, or the simple fact that we could throw shit at each other… it did feel like we were all on cloud nine in this powdered art piece together. Did we just become friends?
Visual Lineup: Apostrophe NYC
Joohee Stickymonger Park