Have we gone too far in our demands of organising luxurious fests?
The month of February usually marks the beginning of the fest season in Delhi University. Studying at a prestigious college in DU, I can trace my growth from a super excited fresher, to being a part of the organising committee during the final year – trying to find the real worth of a college fest.
Being a member of the organising committee is a great experience. Learning the essence of teamwork, completing targets, being under the pressure to perform to the best of our abilities – this is a great first-hand experience. While I once used to romanticise college fests, I have come to a point where I have begun to question the reason for the hassle and pains that the students’ union and its team takes in making a fest possible.
Gone are the days when fests were known for their cultural significance. In today’s capitalist society, our college fests are more about commercialization, worrying about which college gets a more popular artist, rather than focusing on providing an over-all enriching and immersive experience to the students. With sponsorship targets going as high as ₹ 90 lakhs, I wonder what point we have come to. In times when our society is raging with social issues such as poverty, illiteracy and farmer suicides, it is rather strange that we raise lacs of money just for glories and social media updates that would not last beyond a span of three days.
Often, when I question my friends whether a commercial fest is worth it, I am shunned away by being told that “this is what the students want.” I agree that commercial fests are in trend, a want by the majority. However, in my opinion, they are not the need of the hour, definitely not a necessity.
What can be done instead is to have the right balance between a commercial and a cultural fest. Behind all the glitz and glamour of a purely commercial fest, people fail to see the difficult experiences that the students go through while organizing it, especially the union and the sponsorship team who have to face the rants and tantrums of the artists and performers directly. Surely, those are not the things that one wants to work for.
Even when it comes to selling stalls and tables to prospective food vendors and commercial shops, with the costs being overpriced, are we not somewhere looting the owners just to make some more profits? We promise the vendors that high footfall will help them achieve a break-even point – even profit, if all goes well – knowing for a fact that might not be possible. We run after famous Bollywood singers and are not ready to provide a platform to folk musicians, or regional artists, who need an audience too, to help their art grow and to let people experience a different culture or art form.
As students and as members of the students’ union, we should aim for an experience which is mutually beneficial. It’s time that we do not run after the total number of footfall of a college fest or which Bollywood artist can come over and perform. We should understand our limitations, prioritise accordingly and aim for a fest which is a learning and pleasant experience for all.
The image is only for representational purpose.