Money and technology jazz up college fests

College fest isn’t just an occasion to show off your artistic side anymore. It is a full blown, almost commercialised event, managed very professionally with corporate sponsors and media partners.

At Christ University, the just concluded intra-collegiate fest ‘Darpan’ was a milieu of interesting activities. The students eagerly await the events designed for them such as the Western Electricals and Indian Non-theme Dance.

Aditi Kashyap, 18, a journalism student at Christ University who participated the various art events says "taking part in Darpan is refreshing and a break from the hectic schedule that we have. I go with the intention of participating, and not winning." Since the winners of the events held here get to represent the college in inter-collegiate fests, there is a lot of hype surrounding the events.

Inquizition, a quizzing event at Symbiosis Institute Of Media And Communication. Pic: Authors

Fun and frolic with friends, hot food on the platter, pseudo-Shakespearean plays, foot tapping music, Bollywood jhatkas and matkas and an almost religious fervour. This is what a typical ‘college fest’ feels like. Today’s fests are a lot more commercial and months go into their planning. It is a bustling centre of entertainment as well as commercial avenues.

Rohini Balaji, 24 , an ex-student of Ambedkar Medical College, says "fests in our times were not as publicised as they are now, and the events were restricted to song and dance. Today’s fests present a different scenario as there are ample opportunities for the students to prove themselves before eminent personalities. The fests at our college now are bigger and better”. Fests have evolved from drill routines to B-boying and beat boxing

These fests range from being small events of celebration to being an out and out gala. Lalitha Sridhar, 19,an alumnus of Mount Carmel College, "our annual fest ‘Esplendida’ attracts a crowd of about 15,000 people from colleges all over Bangalore. Students keen on participating in cultural events flock to our fest."

The well-known  Pre-University colleges in Bangalore like St.Joseph’s Pre-University College, Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College, Christ Junior College witness huge participation from the other undergraduate colleges.

The inter-collegiate fests conducted at Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College like ‘Spoorthi’ and ‘Taru Samskruti’, attract around 10,000 – 15,000 people from all over Bangalore. The attendance for these fests is on an ever-increasing note, as the years roll by.

‘Inquizition’, a quizzing event, of Symbiosis Institute Of Media And Communication (SIMC), Bengaluru, has about 500 people from over 100 teams participating, attracting budding quizzers with its special homage to quiz. Similarly, with ‘Vortex’, a biennial, techno-cultural fest at RV College Of Engineering, conducted by the mechanical department of the college, around 400 people participate, applying their technical and analytical skills to build and showcase models.

Traditionally, most of the fests feature events conforming to music and dance. However, there are a plethora of new events being introduced every year. There even are fests that are solely dedicated to one particular genre. ‘Strawberry Fields’, a fest conducted by National Law School Of India University ( NLSIU) is committed to being a rock fest, and has even been rated as ‘India’s best college rock festival’ by ‘Rock Street Journal’.

Samvit Y, 24, an ex-student of RVCE, says "our fest has a variety of technical events like robotic workshops, technical presentations, aero-modelling, and mechathon". B.T.L.Institute of Technology, during their fest Esperanza,  had arranged an array of events such as Slow Drag, Man Vs. Food, Treasure Hunt, Jam, etc. A dash of freshness and variety is added to the events’ list every year.

Sponsors come knocking

Corporate firms and IT powerhouses come knocking at various popular fests, offering sponsorship. Says Arvind Baspure, 24, an alumnus of SIMC, "for our fest, the title sponsor was Corporation Bank, and the other sponsors included Flying Machine, Deccan Herald, Radio Mirchi. We tied up with ‘Buzz In Town’, our online ticketing partner and publicity partner, and also with ‘Outdoor Magic’, our outdoor publicity partner". ‘Vortex’ RVCE interest sponsors who are categorised into Platinum, Gold, and Silver streams. With improving publicity and marketing facilities, sponsorship has now become the nucleus of the organising fests.

The students derive their own pleasure from sitting for hours together and planning for the fests. A layout and theme of the fest is planned and decided upon by the members of the organising committees. Planning for a fest includes meticulous dissection of every small detail.

Kumaran Prabhakar,19, a student of Christ University, about his experience as a member of the organising team, says ”fests are one of the best platforms where we can use our skills in organising, leadership, decision making, crisis management and so on. It is like you are familiar with all the students, and the University and its workings. Basically, it’s about having fun and bonding at the same time”.

Gone are the days of insufficient infrastructure, as most fests these days are housed in the fully-equipped and privately-owned auditoriums. Baspure says, ”our quizzing extravaganza was held in state-of-the-art auditoriums with cutting-edge technology like Plasma screens and amplifiers”.

Radhika J,19, an ex-student of Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College says "our college fest was held in our auditorium with great acoustics. The lighting and resonance sounding were managed with finesse”. Advancement of technology has been embraced fully, and has been utilised to the maximum extent.

What’s a fest without a cause?

Along with the revelry, the students also consider it their responsibility to create awareness among the masses about various social issues, and take all measures to support these causes. Campaigning for a cause goes hand in hand with publicising their respective events.

RVCE, for instance, stood by the ‘Save Our Tigers’ campaign, during ‘Vortex.’ The students even held a vintage car rally from Cubbon Park to MG Road, with 30 cars on display, in order to draw attention to the cause they were supporting. While ‘Inquizition’ was being held, the students came up with an effective way to ensure a greener future, by distributing saplings to the finalists and the winners.

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