Thursday, October 04, 2012

~ Only Music ~

India's alternative/rock music scene had never been in the main stream till the last decade. Over the years many musicians / bands have got a lot of well deserved support from sponsors as well as fans.

Even though there has been steady flow of International artists who have been visiting Bangalore regularly. I have had a terrible experience last October during India's F1 debut. I had the taste of bad event management by a reputed Bangalore-based company. Am not sure if the crowd was partly to be blamed for the entire fiasco. But DNA ensured that Metallica gave no excuses when it came to performing on their home turf.

I definitely will not get over the not-so-memorable {F1-Metallica} Delhi trip. The trigger for this post is the young & energetic company, which am sure, will take the music festivals to a whole different level. The intent & attitude of this young company where music is the primary focus and the fans being the next. 

"One reason for NH7 Weekender’s success is its meticulous planning. “We literally made a list of all thechutiya things that happen at an event—we will not do it,” Nair explained. “It was a very big list—we wrote down about 70-80 points, saying these are the little, little things because we knew everything.” Work on the 2012 edition had already begun in January and yet, Nair claimed, they were a month behind schedule.

Knowing what not to do has come in large part from the fact that the OML team has spent considerable time, money, energy and air miles attending music festivals across the world. When I met Talwar, he’d just returned from a jazz festival in Turkey. Dhruv Jagasia, the man who executes Weekender on the ground, attended events in Glastonbury and Edinburgh—just to observe how mammoth festivals like these can be pulled off without glitches. “We’re the only chuts in India who start asking for permissions a year in advance,” Nair said.

As odd as it may sound, Nair’s manic obsession with an incident-free Weekender represents a break from convention in the history of music events held in India. Concertgoers are all too familiar with stories of shows being cancelled at the last minute. The much-hyped Metallica concert in Gurgaon last year is a recent prominent example. An hour before the show began, DNA Networks, the organisers who are 20-year-old veterans of the business, announced that it had been postponed by a day. An estimated 20,000 people rioted in response, smashing LED screens, sound consoles and drum kits; their anger was stoked by a lack of water and the long hours of waiting, which had only ended in betrayal. That night, Nair was in the lobby of Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road in New Delhi, supervising Lady Gaga’s press meetings ahead of her concert two days later. As he received updates about the fiasco, he reacted with calm incredulity. “It was a bit like Noam Chomsky watching the invasion of Iraq begin,” said Raghu Karnad, the former editor of the Time Out Delhi magazine, who was with him that evening. It’s a sharp contrast to the OML-organised concert held in Gurgaon in early 2011, featuring the electronic dance group Prodigy. An attendee told me that security guards handed out bottles of water to fans who had been standing for six hours and couldn’t get off the grounds.

Nair blames organisers in India for mishaps at events. They don’t apply for necessary permissions in time and frequently sell more tickets than the venue’s capacity. But he also attributes it to a culture in India where, he said, “people who pay money for concerts are not treated as consumers, we’re treated as wallets. Look at religious events abroad—there will be fucking production with huge sound, light… even evangelism will be done with fucking great production. Here, you go to a Baba Ramdev event, there’ll be 30,000 people on the ground with no toilets provided. There’s a general attitude that people can be taken for granted.”

Am sure that we will have some good festivals in the coming years. Wish Bangalore will be a regular destination on their timelines.

Am talking about the Only Much Louder (OML). The same people who were behind The Dewarists, MTV Sound Tripping, NH7 Weekender. I discovered that they had produced all those shows, after reading a well reported piece on Caravan - When the loud get going. It's a lengthy piece worth reading.

Move over DNA, OML is here now :) 

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