Lavin Uthappa recreates the tribulations and the excitement that went into the making of Storm Festival
It takes guts to put together a music festival. A lot of passion for music, apart from meticulous planning that drives you enough to something on such a large scale is the driving force. It was this drive since the last seven to nine years that we finally thought to give shape to our passion in form of Storm Festival a year and a half ago.
I, along with my partner, have been in the industry for over 18 years, have seen the workings of concerts, shows and have gained insight into what it takes to host a music festival. We have shared good rapport with a lot of important people in the industry. We sat together with the entire team and decided as to what genre of music should be played, what bands should be called. Amidst all the uncertainty and planning, the only thing we were sure of was that we wanted Nature to play a big role and surround the festival around it. People were sceptical about us conducting a festival in a small town like Coorg and advised us to shift it to Mysore. But we wanted to give people an experience rather than just minting money. Who doesn’t want to get away on a weekend and listen to good music surrounded by picturesque scenery? It is this experience that will attract people and give them something new, we knew.
We were sure from the beginning that we would have multiple bands from various genres and break most of the stigma and negativity attached with music festivals. We wanted nature to be an important aspect of the festival and ultimately give the audience a musical experience interspersed with the nature. Though we wanted to spread some important messages we did not want to give ‘gyaan’ to the audience about littering, saving environment or anti-drugs issues. We wanted their musicians to speak to the audience directly and tell it to them in a different fashion that would appeal to the younger demographic.
We also thought that, given the theme of the festival, the genre should be folk and
fusion rather than metal or rock. We wanted to infuse two to three themes to attract a larger pool of crowd and give them something new and different. Promoting new talent is something we are very keen about. Apart from the bigger and well-known names in the country, we made sure that there was upcoming talent as well since it provides them a good platform. The first leg did attract some big names in the industry because of our personal rapport with several artistes, good networking and even with the unusual format of the festival. The festival attracted lot of audience from the southern states of the country and in and around geographical locations. In the second edition, we plan bigger and better things for the festival and attracting crowds pan India.
But organising music festivals in the country is no mean feat. We had to face a lot of biases regarding drugs and other related activities. We also faced litigation that the festival would hamper the environment of the area. We had to explain to the authorities that in fact, our idea is to educate people against littering and usage of intoxicating stuff. We proved a lot of people wrong post the completion of the festival and I can personally vouch that the security at Storm was top notch and better than any other festival, concert that the country has ever witnessed.
Marketing such a festival is not an easy task either. Because of personal rapport with a lot of people, we managed to create a buzz the first time round. Good networking over several years and support from friends was a helping hand to a great extent. A lot of people like the getaway concept of the festival and came. The experience that they left with was enough to get them back next year.
The team of Storm Festival is really excited and geared up for the second edition. We plan to make our website more interactive this time around. We plan the bands that would feature in the festival on the social media and via internet. We have also planned a whole collateral marketing scheme this time to make sure that that there is more buzz. Our aim is to showcase the country a festival that is purely driven by and for music. Infusing a lot of genres and form a sort of music community in the future is what’s on the cards.