Last week we have met with Tahnia Cook, managing owner of Le Life Resort, to ask her about preparations for the Colour Festival, new event hosted by Le Life Resort on the northern side of Efate, to take place on 30 September 2017.
Hi Tahnia. So tell us a little bit about the ColourFest and what it’s all about.
It’s an amazing event, it’s something that is first in Vanuatu, and possibly the largest of its kind in South Pacific.
We only starting it with bringing one thousand people for the event, but it’s going to be an annual thing, and next year we will escalate to maybe three or four thousand easily.
It’s about promoting human spirit. We are getting DJs and international artists from Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Australia and other places. We encourage people to come together, calling for everyone in Vanuatu to come together, no matter what age or where you come from, French-speaking or English-speaking, black or white, doesn’t matter. We just want everyone to come together and share the same space. Camp overnight if you can do it, and just have a really good day.
It’s a full day event. It starts at noon and goes till the midnight. During the first couple hours we will have different activities, entertainment and things going on the stage with the music, and then we’ll get the coloures thrown for good couple of hours, and everyone comes filled with colours and has a really good time, and on the night time it will be all about the DJs just playing good music and stuff like that.
Le Life Resort hosts this event. You own the resort?
Le Life Resort is my resort. ColourFest was something to help the resort, but on the same time I am the secretary of the North Efate Tourism Association, and I really care about that side of the island, and promoting it, because there are not many locals to go around that side of the island, let alone tourists. Tourists also don’t know there’s much out there, so this kind of event every year is about attracting international tourists and locals.
We want them to go at least once a year to that side of the island, spend the weekend, come to the festival, and then spend some time around, see how it changed. Because for many families in town, there have been years since they been around, so they would get a chance to see that roads over there are great, and there’s so many more infrastructure, and things to see and do, then it was before. So it’s just about starting something on that side of the island to bring people there, both locals and tourists.
How you came up with an idea to make the festival of this kind?
I think it’s an event that is taken off throughout the world, because it’s so easy and everyone likes it. There is something for everyone. Not something that you have to be really fit to do, not something that you have to be of a certain age to do. So I was looking for something that would work for everyone, that was possible to do in Vanuatu. And I just thought it would go perfect with Vanuatu spirit and people, because it is so colorful and so fun.
When I was thinking about all the different things we could do, as soon as I thought about it, it felt right, that was the one. It involves some work, but I think it’s going to be really good and will become an annual thing.
Like Fiji – they have big festivals there all the time, and people travel from Australia and other places specifically to be there. But Vanuatu doesn’t have anything of this way of entertainment, we are first. But at this point it really is just for the locals, it’s not an international thing.
But we are working with the Department of Tourism as well to promote the event together. So it’s about bringing tourists to the country as well, and promoting tourism in Vanuatu. But it’s also something for locals to do.
Is it difficult to organise such an event here in Vanuatu?
It’s all here in Vanuatu, and its all accessible. As long as you have time for preparations and great support. I have a lot of people helping me now, so it’s all falling into place. It is a lot of work, but it’s not necessarily hard work.
And you promote it as an event for everyone, it’s not a kind of festival mostly young people would go to?
Yes, for everyone. We are going to have easy good music for any age. The music you can dance to. Not too slow, just enough to make you move a little bit. We will have DJs and bands to play fun music, not usual string bands.
We have bands, some individual singers and artists, and plenty of DJs. So DJs will come from everywhere, and they will just play a little bit between and after bands performances, and then we will have dances, we’ll have a competition on the stage as well. And when DJs are playing, there will be other things to see and do on the stage while the music is playing. So you don’t have to sit down and watch the DJ, you will have other things to see and do.
So it’s not just the music, you prepared different games and other activities for the festival?
Yes, we will have some games, some competitions on stage, like dance battles. And all kinds of different fun stuff, I don’t want to give too much away. That’s aside from the colour throw itself, because colour throw is the whole point, and main theme of the festival. We don’t want to take too much from that.
And we prepared big things on stage too, like shooting the colour in the crowd. And at night it’s all about the lights, and everyone taking glow sticks and neon if they want, just to keep the colour thing going. We will have different activities to bring people together. We want to promote the interaction among everyone. We want people to smile and laugh together and become friends. And exchange numbers when they go back to Port Vila or something like that. Or run into each other in town and say: “oh, I saw you at the Colourfest”. We don’t want people to come in groups and stay in groups. We want people to meet new people.