SHILLONG: In a turn of events that left festival-goers and organisers alike disheartened, the highly anticipated first day of the Cherry Blossom Festival was abruptly called off due to rain.
The venue at Ri Bhoi’s Bhoirymbong, adorned and buzzing with excitement, stood silent as rain poured incessantly, forcing organisers to prioritise the safety of attendees.
The festival, which had drawn significant attention with thousands of tickets sold and renowned artists such as Hybrid Theory and Sanam in attendance on the first day, had its inaugural day cancelled just hours before the scheduled festivities.
The organisers took to the festival’s official social media handle to make the unfortunate announcement, expressing concern for the safety of festival-goers and collaborators. The statement read, “…the impending rain poses a potential risk to festival-goers and collaborators, and your safety is our top priority.”
In an attempt to appease disappointed ticket holders, the organisers declared that those with Day 1 tickets could access either Day 2 or Day 3 for free. Season pass holders were promised a refund for the cancelled Friday show.
The swift announcement triggered a flood of reactions on social media, with disheartened fans expressing their disappointment.
User _wk_09 pointedly commented, “So you’re saying being in the ‘wettest state’ OF THE WORLD you did not AT ALL PREPARE FOR RAIN? Ohh noo (sic).”
Another user, grey_gold89, criticised the festival’s management, stating, “Very poor management. We live in Meghalaya after all!! Should’ve prepared for rain… it’s a loss for all ticket buyers who travelled far and to the stalls as well.”
Earlier `in the day, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that a deep depression over the Bay of Bengal had intensified into Cyclone Midhili, which grazed past the Sundarbans after making landfall on the Bangladesh coast with a maximum wind speed of 80 kmph.
An advisory from the IMD predicted that the rain would persist in the Northeast until Sunday, further dampening the festive mood in the state.
As fans and attendees grapple with the unexpected turn of events, the festival’s organisers are working to salvage the remaining days, hoping to bring the much-anticipated Cherry Blossom Festival back to life despite the challenges posed by Cyclone Midhili.