Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Festival 2013 is a success. This article takes a look at activities that have led to a successful festival. It also lists a few irritants and suggests improvement ideas for future festivals.
Successful Features Of Kala Ghoda Festival 2013
- In terms of number of events, the 2013 Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is the biggest ever in its history. In 2012 the festival had 365 events; in 2013 this has increased to 425+.
- Congratulations to the Kala Ghoda Association, Kala Ghoda Festival Team and Volunteers for the smooth functioning of the Festival. We believe that the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2013 is the SECOND LARGEST ART FESTIVAL in the WORLD (after the Edinburgh Fringe). Event coordination at the 2013 Kala Ghoda Festival has been very good. Most events start on time. All venues have clarity on what is expected and how to run the events. Schedules are clearly displayed outside venues. Given the scale of the Kala Ghoda Festival, this is a tremendous achievement.
- Crowd management at K Dubash Marg (Kala Ghoda) has been very good. It is heartwarming to see that visitors to the festival are well behaved. Visitors are polite, they patiently wait for others to take pictures, they wait patiently in line (notice the line at visual art installation “When No One Was Looking”), there is no pushing, garbage is thrown in bins, etc. The challenge will be on Sat, 9 Feb and Sun, 10 Feb, which are expected to be the busiest days of the Festival.
- For families, “Children” events and workshops are a big draw. This year there are 88 Children events (53 in 2012), which are a big draw. Even on school days, the “Children” events are well attended.
- Enthusiastic participation by School children (Fazlani, Dhirubhai, Campion, Sunflower Nursery, etc) has added colour to the festival. The artwork created by these students is amazing (see pictures). Hopefully there will be increased school participation in future Kala Ghoda festivals.
- 2013 has interesting Heritage Walks, especially the Irani Café, Stained Glass, Art Deco and Photography walks.
- It’s great to see that the number of Plays and Theater events have doubled over last year (45 Vs 25 last year). Only wish is that at least on the weekends the play timings could be staggered.
- The Street Folk events (Puppets, Nat Acrobats, etc) at Rampart Row are incredible. Wish there were more events.
- Music highlights this year are Usha Uthap, Utsav Lal, Talvin Singh & friends, Akriti Kakkar, Salim-Suleiman, Tjupurru, Rhythm Method, Ravi Iyer, artist brought in by British Council.
- Kala Ghoda Association’s collaboration with agencies such as British Council, NSPA, Salaam Bombay, Australian Consulate, etc has brought variety to the festival. Hope to see more collaboration in future festivals.
- “Food” category events at the 2013 Kala Ghoda Festival have an impressive list of celebrity chefs.
- Kala Ghoda Festival organizers have made productive use of Social Media (especially Twitter and Facebook) to share information and interact with visitors. The official Kala Ghoda Art Festival website has improved.
Art Work by School Kids at Kala Ghoda Festival 2013
(Please click on picture to enlarge and start slideshow)
Possible Areas of Improvement for Kala Ghoda Festival
- The 2012 Kala Ghoda festival had many high quality Visual Art Installations. The standout was the large “Kala Ghoda” (Black Horse) at the entrance. Although the 2013 Kala Ghoda Festival has over 90+ installations, very few (Kapala structures, FSI, etc,) have the WOW factor. Some installations are outright amateurish. Hopefully 2014 will have better Visual Art Installations.
- Some venues carry on their day to day activity while Kala Ghoda Events are going on – this can be a distraction. For example, Kitab Khana can get noisy while Children events are going on; at Max Mueller the screening hall has an attached office where it is business as usual, etc.
- Wish the stages everywhere (for movies, music, etc) were at least 2 feet higher. Visitors at the back have a tough time viewing the screen/stage.
- If the stage at the Cross Maidan can be turned 90 degrees, many more viewers can be accommodated. Also must the control panel be right in the center of the audience? This drastically reduces the audiences view at the back.
- The Hindi Film industry is a large part of what makes Bombay/Mumbai unique. This year it celebrates 100 years. Larger participation and involvement of the industry at the festival would have added sparkle. There was a token 100 year installation at the fest.
- If there were more Marathi and Gujarati programs at Kala Ghoda Festival, the visitor count would increase substantially. Vernacular events get a token representation at the festival.
- Theme of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2013 is “Change”. The use of this theme is not evident across the category of events.
- Considering that Kala Ghoda is the Art Gallery precinct of Mumbai, there is hardly any focus on “Paintings”.
- The Times Of India is a key sponsor of the festival, yet its coverage of the festival is lackluster. This newspaper should play a key role in garnering interest for the festival.
- The Street events at Rampart Row are a success. Wish there could be more folk events, such as pottery, henna designs, etc, which would improve visitor participation. With the moving out of Music and Dance events from Rampart Row, the itinerary at the center of Kala Ghoda is a little threadbare.
Photos of Events at 2013 Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
(Please click on picture to enlarge and start slideshow)
Kala Ghoda Pictures by www.WonderfulMumbai.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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