Monday, September 23, 2013

Festivals of India - Young and Old

India is well known for its festivities; Holi, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Divali, and Eid have all crossed my consciousness at some point in time, and everyone celebrates them with conviction. These festivals have been intertwined with the DNA of the Indian sub-continent's society, for thousands of years.

As far back as 50 years another set of festivities commenced, in the 1960s the Goan scene was borne. Goa trance developed out of the Indian spirit of the sixty’s, and I am guessing that sporadic events would pop up and roll on for days as the locals went on unaffected by the strange behaviour of their foreign brothers and sisters. Perhaps assuming it was a part of their own DNA....just like their festivals.

As time moved on these Goa festivities took a more mainstream form, the hippies largely departed and festivals such as Woodstock, Glastonbury and more recently Burning Man were conceived off the back of the liberal wave which came out of the Vietnam war and the Cold War era. The sub-continents own holy and mythological festivities evolved, but remained. The latest Ganesha Chaturthi celebrated, involved various sizes of Ganesha in all his glory, made out of plastic in startling colours.

Now a new breed of festivals has begun in earnest and it t'is the season. Events such as the goMAD festival in Ooty, Escape in UP, Storm in Coorg, India Bike Week, Sunburn, Sula, Enchanted Valley and so many more, are popping up all over the place to fill a demand for music and a break from the mundanity of working life. The festival concepts in Europe will have played their part in the demand, as media, the internet, and travelers report of the hedonism and live music that is heavily entrenched in the summer diaries of Europeans.

However this is India and India always has its own identity, so we wait with interest to see how the market evolves. A good place to start would be the NH7, and its rise to fame as the one to be at. It is however well documented how precarious the Indian festival market is. Revenue from branding is leaned on too much, and so important for making the festivals sustainable, this is less prevalent in the West, and ultimately creates a festival off the back of the brand. Perhaps the population has more of an intrigue into one time experiences too? So it might be that the life span of a festival is that much shorter, as the next big thing takes center stage, year on year. The organizers are keen to embrace new ideas, that is a certainty, the business ecosystem is ripe with young companies bringing new services to the 'playa' (festival zone), demand is driving the industry, so let’s see and the best way to do that is to get there.

Our company runs journey sharing services to these kinds of events; car sharing, taxi sharing and bus splitting hoping to bring accessibility, and hassle free travel to these events.

If you are looking to travel to any of the festivals this year, we will help you get there, and here is the link to the "Burning Man" survival kit, the mother of modern festivals. The event you go to is not in the Nevada desert but you always need to be prepared, and our suggestion is get prepared early.

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