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My empty pockets make theirs deeper

My empty pockets make theirs deeper

Every direction I look, every organiser of sorts has caught the Festival Fever. Throw a few bands together; throw in some bizarre art, food and of course a million sponsors and voila-festival a la Grande. 

The way I see it simple- a festival is a pure manifestation of a business idea that disguises itself as a circus for adults. Don’t get me wrong- I personally do not have a problem with somebody getting his or her rockers off on putting together a half-hearted show in the name of Festival. What does get to me, though, is the fact that these folks don't really get the fact that a music festival should be about an evanescent vibe created and a journey for the audience. A real few get that one right- but then they forget about the economics of it.

You have your best festival suit on and head on down to ground zero. Now to tackle the extremities of cues, emptying hard-earned pocket money, you find yourself amidst the crazy of a people just like you. And this is probably the only point your thoughts are clear enough for a thought, "I have deep pockets for tonight and will spend a bomb, the other bunch of people here must be too. Which means this festival makes money!" You're probably wrong (unless it's NH7-eye roll much?!). 

Out of the many festivals that go down in India, - Vh1 Supersonic, Storm, Sunburn, NH7 - the list just grows by the month and day - nobody really brings the dough home, like OML (The guys behind NH7). Vijay Nair, the CEO of OML mentioned in an article for Livemint - “Rs150 crore is the highest estimate for the festival market today, I know what we make, and I know what Sunburn makes, because we’re friends, and we are two-thirds of the music fest business in the country. The remaining 30% is divided between festivals like VH1 Supersonic, Enchanted Valley Carnival and the smaller ones.” But, here’s the shocker. “We’re the only profitable festival in the country, currently. That’s just a fact; having known every other festival and what they do, everybody is in debt at this point of time.” 

So the next time you think of starting a festival, think hard about the money that you could have used to throw a party for your close friends instead of taking up the bill for another 10,000 people who you absolutely don't know.

And on a final note for today, here's a list of festivals that were great for many reasons but just never made enough money to withstand sustainability: 

Independence Rock: had to shut shop after 26 years, because sponsorships ran dry

Great Indian Rock Festival: shut shop after 15 years of its existence again due to lack of sponsors

Rock in India/Escape Festival after five years - again lack of sponsors

Storm Festival shut shop after three years and Ragasthan in two years - again lack of sponsors

That's it for me in this part, but look forward to the next blog about getting the right experience for the audience at a festival.
Author: Geoffrey
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