How to generate publicity for a concert in November? Start in July. All the rumours, madness and memes that preceded Coldplay’s first India gig.
July 28: A report in Mumbai Mirror says Coldplay will perform on November 19 either in Mumbai or Delhi. After frontman Chris Martin’s impromptu performance at a café in Delhi last year, there were already rumours of them playing in India officially. The fact that their new song, Hymn for the Weekend, was shot in India added fuel to the fire.
July 29: No official word from either the band or an event organiser. Are Chris Martin and gang coming down? Are they not? Social media is in a frenzy. Also, everyone and their uncle is suddenly a Coldplay fan..
August 11:An event on Facebook called Official: Coldplay India Tour catches people’s attention. The page claims the performance will take place at Kalidas Natya Mandir, Mulund, and that Coldplay is a ”world famous British Antakshari Band”. Many fall for the joke. Comedy troupe All India Bakchod (AIB) later claims responsibility for it. They said the purpose of the prank was to show how people will believe anything online. But didn’t we know that already?
September 9: A tweet by Global Citizen Festival confirms that Coldplay will indeed play in Mumbai. Reports of the tickets ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 5,00,000 surface. As do the online jokes. “Do we sell a kidney to buy a Coldplay concert ticket or the new iPhone 7?”
September 10: The Global Citizen Festival announces that a majority of the tickets will be free. But you need to “earn it”. As an initiative to eradicate poverty, the festival will “reward” you with points for being a good Samaritan. The tasks? Signing online petitions to prioritise sanitation, watch videos on global goals, take a quiz to prove that you paid attention to the video, and so on. Armchair activism, much?
September 12: The festival line-up features Bollywood actors Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, among others. There is criticism as people realise it’s not a Coldplay tour as much as it’s a Bollywood show. Singers Arijit Singh and Monali Thakur are also part of the event. Imagine hearing Tum Hi Ho after Paradise.
September 15:But there’s still a scramble for passes. Booking tickets turns out to be a nightmare — with as many as 72,000 people in an online queue ahead of you. More memes and jokes follow. ‘It’s like Coldplay is taking revenge from people for a lifetime of downloading illegal music in just one ticket (sic)’ tweeted a user.
November 3:Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam says the event is a political gimmick by the BJP. Terms it a celebration of the BJP government’s two years in office and alleges misuse of public funds. There are fears among fans that the event may suffer negatively or even be cancelled. Nothing of the sort happened. Coldplay is still coming to ‘fix you’.
What: The Global Citizen India Festival will take place on November 19, 1.30pm onward
Where: MMRDA Grounds, BKC
Tickets: Rs 20,000 on bookmyshow.com