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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

How is a DU fest made great? The real stars behind it tell us the struggle

We talk to students who are the driving forces behind some of the biggest Delhi University annual cultural fests; their struggle and how they put up a great show.

Updated: Jan 30, 2018 13:59 IST
Aditya Dogra
Aditya Dogra
Hindustan Times
Students pose in front of the self-created decor for Nexus — the annual cultural fest of Sri Venkateswara College.
Students pose in front of the self-created decor for Nexus — the annual cultural fest of Sri Venkateswara College.(Alex Arthur)

The high point of Delhi University — for its students and friends of DU students alike — is the annual college fests. They’re grand, boast the best crowd and star performers, and are a lot of fun to be a part of. But who plans it all? Who gets in touch with the celebs? Who bears the expenses? We trace the behind-the-scenes madness that culminates in a successful college fest in the varsity.

Fest season in DU begins in January (for 2018, it has already begun) and continues till April. However, for the organising committee, work begins as early as November. The budget is set, brainstorming begins on the theme and decor for the year, and responsibilities are divided.

“The creative teams are responsible for decor, sponsorship teams look after funds, PR teams focus on promotions, whereas the college union, Principal and conveners are responsible for the bigger decisions. Various heads and subheads are appointed to ease the process,” says Marya Hasan, a third year B.A. Programme student of Miranda House that hosts Tempest. “We run budgets, look for sponsors that fit our theme, and approach previous years’ sponsors to meet funds,” she adds.

“Team member s have observed past trends of how a fest comes together , so they’re equipped to perform the duties assigned to them, and tackle challenges that pop up along the way”

For Nexus, the annual cultural fest of Sri Venkateswara College, the drill is similar, and learnings from previous years’ fests come in handy in crisis situations. Shalil Gulati, a third-year Economics (Hons) student, shares, “We start planning in December, and from there on, dedicate 7-8 hours (sometimes more) each day to make our fest a success. The Fine Arts Association is the force behind the fest. We’re a team of 50 people who are divided into departments like marketing, creative, sponsorships and technical. We actively chase sponsors via email or calls, and fix meetings. Several challenges pop up along the way, but the team manages to tackle them and deliver a great fest. All the pressure is worth it in the end.”

Kajal Kaushik, president of Institute of Home Economics, says that a comprehensive plan is a must. Dates have to be finalised well in advance to avoid a clash with another college’s fest. “As the president, I have to first prepare the fest proposal. To avoid clashes, I call other college presidents to check for their dates and plans. Once you’re sure about dates, we seek permissions from the Police, and for electricity etc. Then we calculate sponsorships and budget so as to deal with production, artists, hampers, decor and gifts efficiently.”

There’s a lot riding on the fest’s success, and that’s our sole responsibility

Stress, panic and exhaustion peak as the big day approaches. “There is a lot riding on the success of the fest, and that is our sole responsibility. Besides physical stress, there’s a mental overload. Each member brings their own diverse viewpoint to the table and we have to be patient and open, whilst still being firm and ready for anything that happens...People learn to put aside differences and this is one time when everyone works in tandem,” adds Kaushik.

Follow @htshowbiz for more.

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 13:59 IST

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