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Rock bands sign up for Simsang festival

Shillong, Nov. 18: The sounds of guitars and other musical instruments will reverberate across Williamnagar in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills during the upcoming “Simsang Beat Contest - 2012”, which is part of the Simsang Festival to be held from December 12-14.

Fifteen bands have registered for the contest Besides bands from Shillong and Garo hills, there are three from Nagaland, two from Manipur and one each from Sikkim and Maharashtra. It is a national-level competition among upcoming rock bands of the country.

East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Vijay Mantri said the contest is gaining popularity through the social networking site, Facebook.

“More efforts are being made to attract rock bands from the Northeast. Out of the total prize money of Rs 2 lakh, the winning band will get Rs 1 lakh,” Mantri said.

He said the contest would be a great opportunity for upcoming bands especially from Garo hills.

There is no entry fee and it is open to all rock bands. Interested bands should send in demos of two numbers in English only and they could be either covers or originals. The demos could be e-mailed to

The last date for sending in demos is November 27. Selected bands will be invited for the live auditions, which will be held on December 11 and 12 while the finals will be held on December 14. Dormitory accommodation will be provided for those bands coming from outside Garo hills.

Earlier, the Simsang Festival was known as the Winter Festival. Simsang River is the largest river of Garo hills. It originates from the Nokrek mountains and moves eastwards through Williamnagar and flows down through South Garo Hills district and finally enters Bangladesh.

In fact, Williamnagar was once called Simsanggre as it is a riverine town built on the curve of Simsang river. Simsang river is the lifeline of the East Garo Hills.

Apart from the beat contest, the other programmes of the festival will include a carnival, singing and dancing competitions, Miss Simsang beauty pageant, fashion show, food and wine festival among others.

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