I wasn’t prepared for the first splash of colour to hit my face. I raised my hand to feel where it landed and I erroneously breathe some of the powdered dust. Some of the dust found my eyes. They were organic, the organiser said, but having powder thrown to your face does not necessarily happen very often.
But perhaps that was what everyone was there for on a breezy Friday afternoon — the spontaneity and the gaiety of the moment and the friendly vibe among different people gathered in one spot.
The location was the Al Mouj Golf Lawn — a perfect spot that can handle a large number of crowd. The event dubbed Festival of Colours is inspired by the Indian Community’s Holi Festival happening within the same month but that gathering was made to cater to international audience and very different from the traditional Indian celebration (with only the use of coloured powder as the connecting point), it was a day designed to be remembered.
Presented by Omantel and organised by Axis Group through the leadership of its CEO, Dr Nithin RS, at the end of the day count showed that there were about 58 nationalities who came as young as three months to as old as 81. The organising team handed out a total of 5,217 wrist bands and overalls, the guests and visitors were able to use a total of 2,500 kilos of coloured powder.
“Make sure you don’t wear anything nice,” was the reminder I was given. It was an advised handed by someone who grew up celebrating the more traditional festival. It would prove to be very useful information especially for someone’s first time to go on such occasion.
The shirt colour theme was white. It was designed to make the colours stand out. The event started at 2 pm and it was scheduled to end at the wee hours of the morning.
There were different activities put in place to entertain attendees. Upon entering the venue, giant slide castles were the first thing that would capture your attention. There were food booths on one side and the children were provided their own space to play.
The rest of the part of the Al Mouj Golf Lawn was turned into a dancing playground. Giant posts with bright spotlights on top were strategically placed at some parts of the venue. The DJ’s booth was enclosed quite far from the crowd — and from security stand point, it makes sense.
There were eight DJs scheduled to play. They were some of Oman’s best and starting to generate buzz for themselves — DJ Pharaoh, DJ Dub Bass and DJ Pulse were three of my personal favourites but the rest, like DJ Sultan, DJ Gine, DJ Harmallea, DJ IBBI and DJ AK, were just as competent.
The crowd started to really pick up at around 4 pm. With blaring music dominating the whole space, it was a beautiful chaos of fun and excitement.
Water guns were a must-have. And it was the second error I should have paid attention to. It was a delectable sight to see water mix with colour and true to the spirit, everyone was game in getting smacked in the face either by colour or water.
Barely an hour, and I was a colourful mess.
A delightful experience
For many of the attendees, it was a good clean fun they definitely did not regret going.
“It’s my first time to go to an event like this. This is a total crowd pleaser. There were even kids filled with all these different colours including their faces. Truly a memorable one,” shared Rose, an expat who has celebrated her first year being in the country recently.
This year’s Festival of Colour was a follow through to last year’s huge success.
As Dr Nithin reported, “After last year’s successful event where 2,500 colourful and happy guests attended, we look forward to this year and colouring even more people.” Many of those in attendance lauded the event.
Sharing on social media, Jakkula’s Mahi shared, “It’s the most colourful and a great festival arranged by Axis Events. It’s an unforgettable and memorable day.”
Jaja, who came with eight other friends, shared that they had the best of time.
“I had some expectations but this really surpassed it. It was really worth spending some time here just dancing to the music and interacting with different crowds. The rain dance and the water gun, it all make it even more fun,” she said.
“Next time, we know exactly what to bring and how to enjoy the festivities,” she added.
For Europeans Kathy and Melissa, “We have some family members who’ve seen the pictures and they were really very jealous back home. This whole event just felt authentic and with the DJs and rain dance, we do hope for something like this again to happen next year.”