Nitin Gadkari to open Ballard fest on January 24

A soft launch of Mumbai’s ‘Ballard Estate Festival’ will be held on January 23 followed by an inauguration by Union minister Nitin Gadkari the following day when it will be officially opened for the public.

| Mumbai | Published: January 14, 2016 4:05:21 am

A weekend festival for the city in the commercial hub of Ballard Estate in south Mumbai is set to commence from January 24. A soft launch of Mumbai’s ‘Ballard Estate Festival’ will be held on January 23 followed by an inauguration by Union minister Nitin Gadkari the following day when it will be officially opened for the public.

Around 4,000 square metre area in Ballard Estate will be decked up with lights, installations, retail stalls, screens and a main performance stage for concerts. The Mumbai Port Trust has entered a three-year contract with event management agency Ferriswheel Entertainment to organise the festival every weekend for eight months of the year. The festival which will begin in January will go on till May this year.

The festival is a ticketed event with Rs 150 as a day entry pass from 11am to 11pm with a capacity of 5,000 people who can enter the venue at a single point. There will be food and beverage stalls, retail stalls as well as other venues inside where there will be performances, a children’s zone and an open air theatre. The organisers said that they will be tying up with film production companies for movie screenings with a bean bag seating arrangement at an additional ticket cost.

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“There are very few open spaces in the city for leisure. This area is a commercial space with lots of offices but post work hours, it becomes a ghost town. We thought this would be an ideal space for the citizens of Mumbai with its architecture,” said Yashodhan Wanage, deputy chairman of Mumbai Port Trust. The MbPT officials said that the arrangement is for the organisers to pay them Rs 58,000 per day when the event is organised. The organisers said that they approached each of the commercial establishments in the area to ensure that minimum inconvenience is caused.

“We would be working throughout the night on Friday after office hours to set up the stalls so that it can be opened to the public at 11am on Saturday. After the event ends on Sunday, the area will be cleared ready as a commercial space for Monday office-goers,” said Shubhra

Bharadwaj, founder and creative director of Ferriswheel Entertainment. Bharadwaj added that a few establishments in the area which are operational on weekends will be given separate wrist bands to ensure that they are allowed easy entry to their offices. The event is confined to two streets in the area leaving space for other commercial spaces to continue operations like famous eatery, Cafe Britannia.

The organisers have lined up artistes like Shaa’ir and Func, The Raghu Dixit Project, Nikhil D’souza and stand up by The Viral Fever for performances during the coming weeks. The area will have private security personnel as well as baggage screening and metal detectors for security purposes. The organisers said that they have applied for requisite permissions from the fire brigade, police, BMC and other authorities, most of which have been granted.

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