30,000 visited LLF in two days; organisers ecstatic
LAHORE: “Records show that about 30,000 people turned up at the two day event,” says Nusrat Jamil, one of the organisers of the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF).
She said although it had all been organised in a couple of months and a lot was missing, next year it would be bigger and better and writers of regional languages would also be coming, with more arts segments, segments for children, etc.
“Alhamra was finally used for what it is meant to be instead of political conferences, which should not be allowed in an arts council. Festivals like these should be arranged by all organisations every three months, and the media should do its best to educate the public by covering such events.”
The LLF finally came to an end on Sunday evening and while visitors and delegates who had come from all over the country and abroad said they had the time of their lives, the organisers too were ecstatic at the success of the very first festival in Lahore.
Asma Asif, who was the PR and media organiser, told Dawn that she had had a very different experience in organising and being part of a dynamic and vibrant team that put in so much effort to make it a success.
“I think Lahore, which is meant to be a cultural hub and the majesty of its heritage and culture is known all over the world, should have this festival a long time ago,” she said. “I think that it also has a level of fascination for many readers who finally get to see the authors who have written their favourite books, and to hear from them, to talk to them and even have their books signed. That feeling for them is like a dream come true.”
Asif said though it was not at all easy to convince the sponsors, once the ideas were pitched and they were convinced, they put in a lot of devotion to make it as unique a festival as possible.
She says the two main people behind the festival are Razi Ahmed from the Zohra and ZZ Ahmed Foundation, and Nusrat Jamil from the Latitude PR.
Nusrat herself says that the best thing about the festival is that it was an event that had a lot of participation from organisations and people all over the city. “I am thankful to Punjab and city district governments that have really given us their support, to the Alhamra for giving us their halls free, the sponsors, the educational institutions for encouraging their students to assist us, and the water and coffee, which was free for all.”
She said she and the organisers did their best to make sure the food was of local flavour without bringing in multinational food chains, which would also be expensive, and the fact that net cafes provided internet free was also very much appreciated.
“We consciously tried to keep the VIP culture out of this event and there were no bureaucrats throwing their weight around or taking up the front seats of the halls,” she said. “The only VIPs were the writers and delegates that we had invited, whom people came to see. And bravo to especially the young people of Lahore who turned up by dozens and all the citizens thanks to whom the event was a success.”
Razi Ahmed, the founder of the LLF, thanked the city government, the sponsors and the people of Lahore primarily who showed immense support for the festival over the past two days. “We would like to thank all those who volunteered and helped us in conducting a successful festival. We look forward to an even a better festival next year.”