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With one of the city’s most popular music festivals, Bacardi NH7 Weekender, moving out of Laxmi Lawns in Magarpatta city where it has been held since its inception in 2010, to Hinjewadi’s Life Republic, the move has generated a lot of discussion amongst the festival regulars in the city.
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From viewing it as a move that was meant for the convenience of festival attendees from Mumbai to hoping for better traffic management, the move is generating mixed reactions. The official reason stated by the organisers of the festival is space crunch given the increasing footfalls every year. “The organisers wanted a bigger space as they said they are growing and which we could not provide. Hence, they moved out to another location,” said Satish Magar, chairman and managing director, Magarpatta Township Development and Construction.
The festival, which will take place from December 2-4, will have shuttle service for the attendees but not all are impressed. A regular at the festival, advertising and marketing professional Sherwin Xavier, who lives in Fatima Nagar rued about the distance this year. “The earlier venue was just 15 minutes from my house and naturally, travelling to Hinjewadi is going to be a headache. If they say that they took this decision because of space issues, then I would say it wasn’t necessary as the crowd wasn’t really that troublesome, it wasn’t like people were stepping on each other’s toes there. I think the reason could be that they have maximum attendees from Mumbai and it would be easier for them. But given the history of traffic issues at Hinjewadi and also the experience of NH7 every year where traffic is the biggest problem, I think they should have chosen another venue,” he said.
Another regular attendee Murtuza Polen, who lives in Raviwar Peth, said he too doesn’t feel that the crowd is really an issue. “If anything, it might add to the vibe of the festival. We would rather see lively crowds than deserted empty spaces at music festivals. However, as far as venue change goes, I don’t think that will deter me as I am ready to travel for NH7 to even outside the city limits,” he said.
In fact, some regulars feel that the move might work in their favour. Pimple Saudagar resident Satyajeet Bhaskare is one of them. “The road leading to Life Republic is on the other side of Hinjewadi, away from the corporate offices and commercial hub. It is at least three or four km out of main Hinjewadi. The earlier location was in the middle of the city where, they could not make too many arrangements for parking and there was lesser scope to manoeuvre traffic as well. Here, with so much open space which can provide parking areas, I guess there would be lesser traffic issues if they manage the shuttle service well,” he said.