Where Have All the Flowers Gone
'Where Have All the Flowers Gone' is not just a festival to celebrate the work of American folk singer late Pete Seeger or to bring awareness of the environment to the people. The festival focuses on bridging the gap between rural and urban life, community involvement, providing platforms to youth, supporting indigenous cultures and traditions, bringing together various communities under one platform, exploring unexplored rural areas.
Every year the festival takes place in a chosen rural area of the Imphal valley in Manipur. The venue is changed every year. Currently, the members of the core organizing team hail from Imphal. Each year the organisers make sure the local residents and clubs are involved in the organization and activities of the festival. During each festival in the past, in the process of organising the festival a bond of friendship and respect has developed between the local people and the organisers. The organizers have learnt to appreciate and respect the local ways of life and tradition. On the other hand the local people are exposed to various forms of art and ideas during the festival. In the process they can think of generating new ideas on how to promote their own arts, tradition and culture to the outside world. Often it has been the case that the local people become volunteers for maintaining order during the festival and they are invaluable as they know the details of the venue. Even Meira Paibis (mothers) of the rural areas have coordinated with the organisers in the festival.
Moreover, people from the neighboring villages are also invited to perform their indigenous art forms like music and dance during the festival. This widens the participation base.
The festival have helped draw attention to the festival venues as scenic locations for tourism.
For instance Chingnungkok Hillock, Lamlai, has become popular as a picnic spots after the festival took place there in 2014. Even the state tourism department and other event management teams started doing events in Andro after Where Have All The Flowers Gone took place at Andro in 2015.
Every year around 300 children participate in painting competitions based on the theme, “Save Our Environment” as part of the festival. Different cycling clubs in Imphal also join in the bicycle rally every year. The festival has also brought various artists from places such as Kolkata, Nagaland and various places of Manipur.