In this day of nearly all television channels concentrating on political debates, little time is devoted to creating and presenting music and even Pakistan Television Channel (PTV) is neglecting its heritage of producing weekly music programmes (like in 70s and 80s), holding of annual festival by All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) in Open Air Theater, Bagh e Jinnahfrom November 6 to 10, was a commendable feat.On the first day of APMC students under 10 years of age participated in a competition for the prize of Javed Ahmad Qureshi Trophy and certificates. Students above 10 competed for Ghazanfar Trophy and Medals. Competition was held among students from colleges/universities for Syed Wajid Ali Trophy and for medals in memory of Ahmad Meraj, Muhammad Afzal, AMK Mazari, Salim Akhtar, Anis Riaz Qadeer, Taj Naseem Asadi, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Shaukat Hussain. This was a well attended event with students and their friends and families gathered to cheer on the competitors. Quality of the participants was very good. Throughout the five days of the festival, the venue was well protected from sides with tents to stop cool breeze entering. The weather supported the event. It was mild for November. Outside on the pathways leading to the main theater, stalls for tea, coffee, soup and burgers made good business. In between Faraan Ahmad Irfan, joint secretary APMC made announcements on the 59 years of efforts by APMC to preserve the musical heritage, as envisaged by his maternal grandfather Hayat Ahmad Khan Saheb, the founder of APMC and a torch well-lit by his daughter Professor Dr Ghazala Irfan.The second day comprised amateurs’ competition for Hayat Ahmad Khan Trophy and medals in memory of Abdul Aziz, Suleman Kyani, Mirza Parvez Murad, Ustad Sharif Khan Poonch Waley, Jamil Mazhar and Mian Qadir Bukhsh Pakhawaji. Twenty six artists participated in the session ‘Gharanon Ki Miraas’ (the musical heritage of gharanas) on the same day. The third day, a mix of folk music, ghazal (by Faraz Saeed, Naeem Abbas Mehdi, Shamoon Fida)), thumri (by Anita Tariq, Mirza Zafar), kafi (by Muhammad Jawwad), shabd (by Muhammad Moeen) was presented by 19 artists. I have not really counted the number of artists that appeared in this festival but by Faraan’s announcement the number was 114 and accompanist instrumentalists were 19 with 72 hours of Live music performances.Notable in Kheyal Gaiki were Abdul Rauf, Beenish Parvez, Chand Khan Suraj Khan, Rustam Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Shafqat Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Naseer uddin Saami and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan HyderabadiRadio Pakistan used to plan monthly bookings for artists. The concerned music producers used to make a monthly booking chart and artists used to come in advance, give details of the classical, semi-classical genre that they planned to sing and sign the contract. For many singers this monthly booking was their sole monthly income. Artists used to practice a particular raag they planned to render for the whole month. This practice was reduced to one booking in every two/three months. That too has been abandoned now. In this scenario, artists were thirsty to perform and audience to listen and APMC festival came to their rescue. The duty of filling the forms of the details of the item was very ardently carried out by Ustad Parvez Paras, an untiring music maestro assisted by Tariq Tareen and other APMC staff. The duty of what an artist wore before entering the stage was also carried out by the vigilant staff members. To my utter surprise the fourth day classical music session was a very largely attended event. The presence of large number of young crowd who appreciated the artists on every beat was commendable. It is a healthy trend to see that our present generation is all out to support the existence of our heritage. Young girls and boys were seen holding flutes to support their teacher’s performance on Stage. Students from LUMS came to applaud their teacher Muhammad Hanif’s performance on flute. The artists who performed included Ayesha Nadir Ali, Ehsan Mahmud Butt, Akmal Qadri, Abad Ali, Dr. Amjad Parvez, Ejaz Hussain Tawwakul, Fahim Mazhar, Ghulam Abbas, James Masih, Keegan Xavier, Muhammad Hanif, Aizaz Suhail, Akhtar Khan, Ramzan, Mahmood Ali Khan, Nadeem Riaz, Noor Zehra Kazim, Nazir Faridi, Qadir Ali and Muslim Shaggan, Sajid Ali Khan, Shafqat Hussain, Shahbaz Hussain, Ustad Badar uz Zaman Ustad Qamar uz Zaman duo, Ustad Ghulam Khusru Khan and Younas Iqbal and Sohail Younus. All performed to the best of their ability and were appreciated. Nowadays there exist two types of performances, one tailor made for attracting audience and not necessarily following the norms of classical renderings in its strict form and two, who follow the norms. The final day was Prize Distribution Day supported by performances in all genres of music. Notable in Kheyal Gaiki were Abdul Rauf, Beenish Parvez, Chand Khan Suraj Khan, Rustam Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Shafqat Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Naseer uddin Saami and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Hyderabadi. Jugal Bandi, Clarinet Playing, Rubab Playing, thumri rendering and Persian music gave boost to the variety on this final day that continued till the wee hours of the morning. APMC continued with its healthy tradition of giving Life Time Achievement Awards to senior artists with life-long service to the cause. 2018 Award was bagged by Ustad Badar Uz Zaman, Ustad Qamar Uz Zaman who thanked APMC and the audience for listening to them for the past 60 years.The above submission is based on the performances I witnessed during the festival. I have lifted some information for the time I was not present there, from the very smartly produced brochure distributed free among the audience on the final day.In this brochure, Sadaf Habib goes into the details of aesthetic hierarchy and the construct of Persianate and Indic classical music in the 15th to 17th century Mughal Courts. Holding of highly successful APMC Festival negate the general perception that producing classical/melody music lacks sponsorship and wider listening. It does, thanks to the efforts of ‘Iron Lady’ Dr Irfan and her team. APMC also pays stipends to its performers. Another accomplishment of APMC is the production of CDs in all genres of music based on the past performances of established artists. I came from school in 1959 and subsequent years to listen to Malika e Mauseequi Roshan Ara Begum and Ustad Sardar Khan and alike. Ayub Aulia recalls those days in his submission ‘Muhsin-e-Mausiqui Hayat Ahmad Khan Aur the APMC’. Keep it up APMC. You have done it for 59 years now.Published in Daily Times, November 16th 2018.