Free Spirit Festival Free Spirit Festival - celebration of Tibetan art and culture, especially reflecting contemporary life.

History: Free Spirit Festival 2001

The twenty-seventh of October 2001 was an exceptionally fine day, and on that day the second Free Spirit Festival was held at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala.

The festival was opened from 10 am onwards for exhibitions of photographs from four Tibetan photographers, cartoons from three cartoonists and paintings of two painters.

A few films were shown during the day: The Cup, The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche, and Tibet's Stolen Child. Film summaries are here This event later evolved into the Free Spirit Film Festival

Over a thousand people turned up for the festival.

But the main feature during the day was Lama Mani's story-telling. Bhuchung Gyurmey came from Dehra Dun as a participant. The Lama Mani tradition is believed to have originated in the 12th century. A Lama Mani is a person who brings the Dharma to unlettered people in the remote areas. As this tradition is slowly dying away, Lama Mani captivated huge interest from the audience.

Geshe Kalsang Damdul, the Director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectic School, delivered a talk on the basics of Buddhism, and Karma Monlam, a scholar working with the Department of Education of Tibetan government-in-exile, delivered a talk on the role of Tibetan language in keeping the Tibetan culture alive.

The evening programme started with the slide show spelling the "Free Spirit Festival". This was followed by the lighting of the free spirit lights by Bhuchen Gyurmey, the Lama Mani and Mr Lee Ryuji OKA, the guest artiste from Japan. Next came the fireworks and the welcome speech by Lobsang Wangyal, the producer and the director of the festival.

Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan poet, took the stage next with his poetry and a monologue.

A history presentation came next. Fifteen different personalities from Tibetan history were presented in full costumes. Tenzin Paldon and Youdon Aukatsang introduced them in Tibetan and English respectively.

Mr Lee Ryuji OKA, a Japanese Butoh dancer and choreographer, followed. He was the only foreign guest artiste in the Festival.

Designer Kalden Dorjee's fashion clothes then took the stage. Models Passang Lhamo and Tsultrim Dolma came from Bangalore for modelling. Ngawang Phuntsok and Lobsang Wangyal were the male models. There were 10 different outfits in the presentation.

Pasang Tsering came from Dehra Dun for a comedy show. He took the stage for more than half an hour, which sure was not enough for the audience!

The JJI Exile Brothers, the Dharamshala local Tibetan band, took the stage for a melodious song which was followed by a go-go dance by Lobsang Wangyal for the number "You sexy thing", by the Hot Chocolate. The audience jammed until 12 midnight!