The annual fests of the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) have always been considered elite, but now these annual dos seem to have another huge differentiating factor: their budget. At a time when most colleges in Delhi University spend anything between `5 lakh to `10 lakh on their annual fests, IITs shell out almost 10 times the amount.
Last year IIT Delhi reportedly spent `1 crore on its fest, Rendezvous. “It is easier for us to get sponsorship since leading corporates and private banks know they will get maximum visibility at our fests, and also be able to reach out to future MBAs, technocrats, all of who participate in our fest,” says a member of the organising committee of IIT Delhi’s fest.
No surprise then that this year IIT Delhi is shelling out `25 lakhs just to get the American Alternative Rock group Hoobastank to their annual festival in October. The Reason hitmakers who will also perform in another venue in Delhi and Bangaluru, usually charge much more. “We are paying `25 lakhs, and the rest of the cost is being shared by the other two organisers where the band is also performing,” shares an insider from the IIT festival committee. And it’s not just IIT Delhi, this year IIT Mumbai will witness a live performance of Mike Portnoy, the American drummer, and co-founder of Progressive metal band, Dream Theater, at their annual fest Mood Indigo.
“Right now, a majority of the youngsters want to listen to progressive rock/metal. Hence this choice,” says Parth Loya, the festival’s media manager, unwilling to put a figure to their budget this year. Sources peg the budget at IIT fests across the country as anywhere between `75 lakh to a crore. “The IITs are the most prestigious, big companies readily sponsors them,” says a sponsor.
‘We are so excited to be back in India!’
American alternative rock band Hoobastank couldn’t be more thrilled to perform in India again. The band, who performed in Shillong earlier this year, will be performing at IIT Delhi’s festival Rendezvous on October 18, and at a city cafe, before moving on to Bengaluru. Chris Hesse, the drummer, spoke to us over the phone and said he did not believe coming to India again would happen so soon. “ After we played in Shillong, I thought it would be a long time before we would come back again. I can’t believe that we are here so soon, we couldn’t be more excited,” he said, adding, “The Indian crowd is more intense and involved in the show than crowds in the US. Although I am used to my home crowd, the Indian crowd is just amazing!” He also revealed he is a huge fan of Indian food, specially chicken tikka masala. “Oh I absolutely love it. In fact, it’s not just that, I love everything about Indian food, I think it’s the best cuisine in the world!” he said. Chris adds that his father is a huge Bollywood freak with whom he gets to watch a lot of Hindi films.
American rock group, Hoobastank, who composed the rock anthem, The Reason, are flattered at the fact that Indian crowds know at least one of their songs. Speaking to us over the phone, drummer Chris Hesse said, “I think it is awesome they (Indian fans) know The Reason and not any other song. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know any other song. This is more than enough for us.”
The band — that has been in the music industry since 1994, and has churned out six albums — will perform in the Capital, at Hard Rock Cafe on October 16, and then at IIT Delhi’s fest, Rendezvous, on October 18.
“We’ll play everything, all of our best songs from the albums ... Indian crowds are amazing and hopefully, they will like our performance. Last time, in Shillong, we had a blast and I’m hoping the same this time as well,” said Chris. So, when can we expect to hear about the seventh album, we asked and he said: “We haven’t thought or talked about it as yet. Right now, it’s this India tour that we are thinking about and that’s that.”