Crowds for Gigs

At a time when sponsors are taking centre stage at gigs,this group is going back to the DIY days.

Written by Zaira Arslan | Published:September 14, 2012 3:39 am

At a time when sponsors are taking centre stage at gigs,this group is going back to the DIY days.

Surrounded by music events and gigs with an overwhelming focus on sponsors,Himanshu Vaswani of the artist management company Sidestand felt a strong urge to begin something that would go back to the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic he was so familiar with. As soon as he gave voice to the idea in 2011,he realised that he wasn’t the only one keen on it and not long after,Control ALT Delete was born. The first two editions of the music property were held in January and April last year at B69 in Andheri,a venue that primarily focusses on the underground rock and metal scene in the city. Both the shows were set up entirely by the organisers who took care of the budget and other things,while a pay-what-you-want door policy was employed for attendees. The idea was a hit with fans who have to pay exorbitant amounts to watch musicians play.

For the third instalment — which will be held on September 30 — the fans are being given even more responsibility. The entire event will be set up by contributions from them,with calls for it made on the popular crowdfunding platform,Wishberry.in. “The idea of crowdfunding is to make people accountable for the gig,to make them feel like they’re actually a part of setting up the event,” explains Nikhil Udupa of NH7.in,which is handling the marketing,promotion and crowdfunding initiative for the event. The event in itself is being organised on a much larger scale with 10 bands performing as opposed to seven last year,and the venue has been moved to Sitara Studio in Dadar West,formerly a film studio that’s now being revived as a venue for alternative music performances. The bands scheduled to perform there are Unohu,The Fringe Pop,Spud in the Box,Microphon3,Blek,The Lightyears Explode,Your Chin,The Riot Peddlers,Blakc and Split.

“The name is something of a cliché,” Vaswani says with a laugh. “It came up as a joke,initially. The ALT in it refers to the genre of music we’re looking at (‘alternative’),but it also means a reset of sorts,” he adds. The reset he’s referring to here is the act of going back to the same DIY format that is the basis of the event. He’s firmly of the view that sponsors take away from music events. “There’s a charm to music events that’s lost with sponsors,” he says. He does,however,concede that it is good for bands that music events are becoming an industry.

Fellow organiser Rishu Singh believes that the focus should be on the bands. “At the end of the day,if the band is being treated fairly,gets money and good sound system to play with,it works,” he says. The founder of ennui.BOMB — a company that manages a couple of bands,organises gigs and has,for the last six years,been releasing compilation CDs of original Indian indie music for free,called Stupiditties — Singh has brought in all the bands that will be playing this gig. “I was planning to have a gig for the release of Stupiditties 666 (the sixth edition of the compilations),so I decided to do it with Control ALT Delete,” he says.

While the amount the organisers aim to raise through the crowdfunding effort is Rs 1.5 lakh on Wishberry.in,the gig take place as scheduled even if they fail to do so. Whatever money is raised,however,will go into recovering costs for the event and then will be split evenly among the 10 bands.

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