| 20 Jul 2024
Strawberry Fields associated with Pepsi MTV Indies and OK Listen for 2014 Fest

MUMBAI: One of India's well known college music festivals- Strawberry Fields returns for its eighteenth edition on 12 December at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Nagarbhavi in Bangalore. The entry-free music fest aims at providing a platform for independent musicians to showcase their work.

This edition will see Strawberry Fields associate itself with two major promoters of independent music- Pepsi MTV Indies, as their presenting sponsor, and OK Listen. "Indies is promoting independent expression in India on a scale never seen before. They are providing a platform to quality talent that might otherwise be restricted to internet channels or just their local music scene. Through this exposure, we think bands are also likely to gain experience at marketing themselves, understanding who their audience is and what their fans want. And OK Listen is providing an opportunity for bands to make their art sustainable and be discovered by a wider audience," said SF head of sponsor relations Nayan Banerjee.

Pepsi MTV Indies aims to associate with campus fests to actively seek new talent i.e., discover music not accessible everywhere. Banerjee also stated that through Strawberry Fields, Indies is gaining access to grassroots bands, and attempting to keep live music affordable for audiences, while also providing opportunities for aspiring bands.

Strawberry Fields' other head of sponsor relations, Apurva Shukla said, "Through the platform provided by Indies, we are able to get the word out about the fest to those who want to discover and experience their kind of music". Shukla added that Indies will not only be scouting talent during the fest, but the winner would also get the chance to record a new song in a professional studio setup. Indies will also shoot a video for the band and offer performing slots across their properties.

Similarly, independent music buying website- OK Listen will provide the festival's top 3 bands avenues on their website with the option of selling their EPs, and all proceedings go towards the bands. "They are helping us become better at what we do, and we are very grateful to them for their support," continued Banerjee.

It has been alleged that the decline in crowd turnout over the last five years at Strawberry Fields has been attributed to the increasing accessibility of live music through more popular and large-scale events in the country. From 8000-10000, the number has come down to 2500. Concurrently, the festival has seen declining sponsorship as well because, for most sponsors, the priority is numbers/exposure. Promotion of upcoming talent comes secondary.

On the other hand, the festival has also seen an increase in the number of collaborations since there are more people trying to promote the independent scene now. Unfortunately however, it is financially limited. "We find enough organisations to help us promote our music, but not support us financially," said Shukla.

This year, Strawberry Fields realised that they had reached a place where they needed to effectively attract their target audience, find a like-minded partner for sustainability and increase the capacity of the event to be a preferred hangout for locals. "We needed to adapt to a changing reality. With this mind, we targeted those organisations that share our aims - they are not running their business just for commercial potential, but also to encourage expression through music and make the quality visible to interested consumers and the general public," added Banerjee.

Like NH7 Weekender, Strawberry Fields is spread over three days allowing large number of bands to perform, with adequate time. Over the first two days, there will be 40 bands performing, out of which five finalists will be picked to perform again on the third day along with the headliners.

Performing this year is folk rock artiste Raghu Dixit, along with metal acts Bhayanak Maut and Demonic Resurrection. Also part of the festival are rock bands Thermal and a Quarter and Junkyard Groove.

"By aiming at long-term partnerships and bringing about stability in our finances, we look forward to spending more attention on promoting this festival and offering more to the audience. We would be delighted if Strawberry Fields became a show that people across Bangalore know about, respect and view as a preferred place to hang out during the fest weekend," concluded Shukla.