“Festivals are unrestrained joy”- Martin Da Costa, CEO, Seventy EMG


Frankly for me, and I know this is deeply selfish, not mention totally parochial, the defining moment of the last decade was the opening of Blue Frog in Mumbai. Not that I’m immune to the other great advances of the past ten years – mobile, digital, social, and all the other great trends; neither it is that I’ve got anything to do with Blue Frog as a business. The notion, however, that urban Indians would actually pay to listen to live music on a regular basis was groundbreaking.


It coincided, of course, with the growth of Sunburn and, later, the launch of NH7. What it did, to a whole generation of Indian event managers, was open up the possibility of launching our own festivals and events; it formalized the idea that one day we might be free of that bugbear to creative freedom – the corporate client. The fact that it coincided with the brutality of the last great recession only cements the moment in my mind.


The definition of the word ‘festival’ I like the best is ‘an atmosphere of unrestrained joy.’  Unrestrained joy. And size of course. Glastonbury - 90 different stages, quarter of a million people. The tickets sell out in 26 minutes online. Its still too early in India’s festival story to equal that achievement, and yet there have already been some very serious successes – NH7, Sunburn, the Jaipur Literary Festival, India Bike Week.

Each of them share three qualities : passion, community and, yes, unrestrained joy. Its pretty obvious why marketers across the world take them so seriously.

Yes, indeed. Festivals add to the gaiety of the nation. I’ll raise a glass to that.

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