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Your Gig Guide

Friday, October 02, 2015

The season for music festivals is back! From standalone artists taking centrestage to guitarists and lead singers from different bands collaborating to bring you spectacular performances, the next few months are going to be a mix of events, festivals and gigs that you can’t afford to miss out on. Dev Goswami & Pooja Salvi bring you a guide to help you prepare for a concert, so that you can enjoy the fun without a hitch

It’s difficult to escape the umpteen horror stories that do the rounds after every music concert. It doesn’t matter where in the world it is held, a combination of crazy fans, screaming crowds and far-flung concert venues have been the catalyst for several incidents — from concertgoers stranded on highways and being refused entry to the more horrific fainting, trampling routine that’s part and parcel of densely populated areas. But, concerts are so much fun that none of this deters us from attending them again and again! There are ways to enjoy the party without getting involved in serious issues. From being on your best behaviour to having water at your disposal and keeping your cool throughout the fest, here is a handy guide on preparing for a concert.   

From trying to hoodwink the security guard to being the person who uses a push-shove routine (better suited to a Virar-local) to get to the front of the crowd, being this type of concert-goer will not only get you in trouble, it won’t win you any fans at the event either. Don’t ruin the night for you, and more importantly, for others! Avoid being one of the following:

  • The amateur videographer While everyone around you is holding their arms up in the air and swaying to the beat, you’re holding your phone up high, trying to record every second of the concert. Your 1,000-odd YouTube subscribers may enjoy your grainy, low-quality video, but the people who are standing right behind you aren’t going to appreciate you blocking their view! 
  • Mr. Oblivious So what if you’re surrounded by a group of people who are as much of a fan of the band as you are? What matters is that you get as close to the stage as possible, even if it involves pushing back that poor girl who had just managed to tiptoe enough to see over everyone’s heads. Oh, and you don’t like the song that they are performing? Of course, booing and shouting for a change is perfect decorum, right? If you don’t like the music, why are you at the concert? Don’t ruin the fun for the genuine fans!
  • The flag bearer Unlike the amateur videographer, you’re a lot more invested in enjoying the present than recording it for the future. However, just like them, you’re going to annoy the people standing around you. The number of people you are going to be around is directly proportional to the size of your flag or poster, and it is way worse if you wave the flag sitting on someone’s shoulders!
  • Excuse me... I need... (retch) It’s funny from a distance, if at all. But, you know who isn’t laughing? The people that were standing nearby, who had to bear the brunt (and splatter) of your vomit. Drinking yourself silly ruins the night not only for you, but for friends and strangers too.
  • Mr. Oh-I-don’t-know-how-it-got-there There are always going to be a handful of concertgoers who think that they can hoodwink the security by smuggling in illegal substances. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, these people usually succeed. However, it’s not worth the risk, the trouble or the planning. Enjoy the music that you’ve come for instead!
  • The creepy dude Just because everyone around you is dancing, singing, drinking and making merry, doesn’t mean you’re at a night club where you can approach anyone who catches your fancy. We aren’t saying that you can’t make new friends at a concert, just remember that a majority of people haven’t come for that here. That shoulder brush that you thought she gave you? Look around! The place is the large-scale equivalent of the popular, but Bandra pub, Toto’s Garage. Oh and you think that guy was smiling at you? He wasn’t! He’s probably wondering why you won’t stop staring at him!   

Whether it’s a three-day festival on the outskirts of Mumbai or a gig in the city, you need to plan in advance in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly for you and your friends. Here’s a checklist of things that you should figure out in advance.

  • All about the venue In a space-starved city likes ours, heading anywhere without doing proper research about the amenities and facilities at the venue is not a good idea. Most organisers do their best to provide you with all the necessary information, and it’s important that you read up on the stage setup, area and entry time. For example, the parking area may be too far from the actual entrance to the venue, with a separate entry gate for people with their own vehicles. Also, you may need to exchange your electronic ticket for physical ones and pick up your wristbands from the ticketing counter. Don’t forget that some venues may have separate approach roads or gates for different classes of tickets and passes.  
  • Call in the rendezvous Getting lost at large gatherings is not new — in the past, we had stories of the lost twin brothers at the Kumbh Mela, while today, we have hapless youngsters, trying to locate their friends. But, is there really a point searching through the crowd? It’s a better idea to set a meeting point for everyone and simply enjoy the concert rather than missing out on the guitar solo because you were busy looking for your friends.
  • Divide and rule From picking up water and food to getting everyone’s tickets in order, there is simply too much to do at a concert. But, you can make it easier for everyone by dividing the responsibilities equally. Let someone handle the food coupons, while you pick up the ticket and wristbands. It will be faster and easier; and if you plan to spend money as a group, it will be more convenient to simply pool together an equal sum per person and use the bank for all the expenses that you incur as a group.
  • Getting out This is such an important point that it deserves to be mentioned separately. If you’ve got private transport, you won’t have much to worry about here — though it may be a good idea to wait for a while, once the concert is over, and let the initial traffic clear. If you’re using public transport or concert buses, assuming that you will figure things out after the concert is over is naive. Book a cab in advance or map out a route to the nearest public transport hub — make sure this is taken care of before heading to the venue.

Security at concerts is pretty good these days, so kudos to the organisers. But, you could pass out because of dehydration, fall ill or just come across some bad seeds that managed to slip past security and get lost in the crowd. Most concerts don’t let you carry things inside so say goodbye to pepper spray and penknives for self defence. Stay close to your friends, follow the simple ‘don’t take candy from a stranger’ rule and make sure to be aware of your surroundings at all times. A good trick is to hold someone else’s hand in your group when you’re manoeuvring past the crowds.

You’ve got your tickets and transport in order. But, remember that you also need to keep the following tips
in mind:

  • You’re going to dance, jump, and have the time of your life. So, the last thing that you want is to feel uncomfortable in what you wear. T-shirts, shorts and sleeveless tops are your best bet.
  • Keep your accessories to a minimal as they can make you feel heavy, uncomfortable and get in the way in a crowd.
  • Carry a bottle of sunscreen. A majority of concerts are out in the open and you don’t want to get sunburnt.
  • Make sure you have enough money — cash in your wallet as well as in your bank account. You don’t want to end up in a position where you have to rely on someone else to get you back home. Also, don’t splurge at the exorbitant concession stands. Spend enough, but spend wisely.

There are a few must-haves that you just need to carry with you on a music festival.

  • Sunscreen, as we mentioned before.
  • A first-aid kit. That’s right. It doesn’t matter if you buy one or assemble one. Your first aid kit should contain necessities such as aspirin tablets, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, and bandages.
  • An identity proof.
  • Emergency contacts, written down on a piece of paper.

No one can beat the nuggets of information that a concert-weary person has to dish out. So, we spoke to a few concert goers from the city and asked them for a few tips and suggestions.

Crowds are usually friendly
“For my first concert, I assumed there would be a crazy crowd. And, while that turned out to be true, the crowd was very friendly too. Going with a group only improves your experience at the concert. It’s also safer. Besides, I suggest avoiding concerts hosting artists that you have no idea about — you will be wasting your time and will have half the fun that you otherwise would have had.”
— Elisha Walia, 23-years-old

Plan it right
“Preplanning is very important for a music festival. I’d recommend that you keep a minimal of `3,500 aside for all the three days (especially at festivals such as NH7). Apart from that, research hotels that are closer to the venue — you don’t want to spend on travelling. Also, find the cheapest mode of transport to and from the city. It's best to go in a group so that you can save money.”
— Sanjit Roy, 28-years-old

Lost friends? Make new ones!
“Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, carry only essentials, wear light, comfortable clothes; and at an open venue, always carry sunglasses, and wear sunscreen. Try not to lose your friends, but if you do, don’t panic, and just make new ones! Personally, I haven’t experienced anything close to bad behaviour, as the security is usually good and people are civilized. But, at this one concert what was quite annoying is once you were in, you couldn’t get out and the water was expensive!” 
— Suruchi Pawar, 26-years-old 

Hectic, but liberating
“The experience at a concert is a hectic, but liberating one. The crowd surrounding you is going to bump into you, make you sweat, and even suffocate you at times, but you come out of it unbelievably free and content! The vibe is booming, but the music is always the star of the show and can change your experience from a mindblowing one to an inspiring one. I wore light cotton clothing and comfortable shoes — no chappals or sandals. Always reach an hour before the concert, if you don't want to lose your mind finding a parking spot amidst all the chaos.”
— Nihal Shetty, 24-years-old

If our guide to preparing for a concert has got you all excited, here are a few upcoming gigs in the city that you can look forward to! 

Jodhpur RIFF
Line-up attractions: Yossi Fine, Wouter Kellerman
When October 23-27
Where Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur City, Rajasthan
Barcardi NH7 Weekenders
Line-up attractions: Megadeth, The Walkers, Kailasa, Papon and the East India Company
When October 24-27, October 31 to November 1 and December 4-6, December 5-6
Where Shillong (Meghalaya), Kolkata (West Bengal), Pune, Bangalore
Sunburn Silvassa Weekend
Line-up attractions: Dannic, Wolfpack, Sick Individuals
When October 3-4
Where Silvassa
Enchanted Valley Carnival
Line-up attractions: Tiesto, Ferry Corsten and Fatboy Slim
When December 18-20
Where Aamby Valley City
Harley Rock Riders
Line-up attractions: Blek, Down Troddence, The Ska Vengers, Abraxas, Superfuzz, Bombay Basement, Indus Creed, Scribecore, Coshish
When October 30-31
Where Byculla, Mumbai
Line-up attractions: Opening act Mija
When October 10, 7pm
Where Reliance JIO Gardens, BKC, Bandra
Sunburn Festival On The Road to Goa 2015
Line-up attractions: R3hab, DJ Chuckie, (S)haan, DJ SA
When November 13
Where To be announced
MTV Indies Xtreme 2015
Line-up attractions: Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
When November 7 and 14
Where Mumbai (to be announced) Bangalore (to be announced)


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