An amazing thing happened to me last week – not off my own merit I have to admit – in truth it was down to pure luck of having a British passport thus being able to travel to Europe at a moment’s notice (well until Brexshit anyway). Also, my boss who should have been going was unwell which is not a lucky thing at all. I felt rather guilty about both of these things so planned to buy lots of Belgian chocolates for all my colleagues and vowed to do my company and my adopted country proud on the trip ahead.

So still a little unable to believe I was really going, I found myself on a (very nice – shout out to the brilliant Brussels airlines!) plane going to Tomorrowland. I was part of a group that included Indians, Canadians, Norwegians, Ugandans, Germans, of course Belgians and maybe a few other nationalities.

We were put up in a stunning converted church hotel in the beautiful town of Mechelan which, is so picture perfect I felt like I was on a film set. The surreal feeling was not helped by the fact that I was playing golf. Yes golf – not a bad way to tour a city. Even stranger, I ended up being ok at playing golf by the time we had reached the final hole at the newly opened town museum. The museum, not unlike the mixture of modern and ancient architecture in the town, had a mixture of modern art, historic artifacts and cool technology engagements. The day wound up rather fittingly in a brewery for dinner, after which I rushed off to get as much sleep and charge in my batteries for the following day. Mechelan – you get a big thumbs up and recommendation to my readers! Belgium is just so bloody nice you have to see it! As are the people – even the airport immigration officer was charming, funny and friendly!

So after eating as much as I could cram in for breakfast we set off for the festival. I won’t gush on too much about how amazing it was and how lovely our host and the new friends I made were – I will let the pictures do the talking. However if I had to describe the experience I think I could sum it up in three words – SO MUCH LOVE!!!

For a commercial event, I heard a huge amount of non-commercial, awesome music. I met people from all over the world carrying the flags of their home countries – not to stand out in the crowd, but to show solidarity that they were there, part of this huge, diverse global family, dancing together. The feeling of peace and unity in the face of all the shit we read in the news everyday really was incredible. It was backed up by the MCs and DJs expounding the same philosophy, the lyrics in some of the tunes being played and in the films and interviews about the festival I have since watched.

There was hardly any litter, no vandalism, no glaring in your face sponsorship plastered everywhere killing the vibe and the art, I didn’t see any trouble (or interestingly, any police in the festival), felt safe as a woman wandering around by herself, highly decorative infrastructure (and not much of a queue for the loos), world class sound, lights and production and just beautiful happy people of all ages (yes! I wasn’t the oldest there!) holding it down and having the best time. I even found some Belgian hardcore and people who know what R&S is. My feet hurt from dancing so much and face from smiling like I used to ‘back in the day’ as we aging ravers say! My head however did not hurt – no hangover and no ringing ears.

A one in a lifetime, great experience and a very, very grateful me.

Now come on India! – Let’s overcome all the challenges we face in the events industry here (I won’t kill the joy of this article by listing them now) and bring Tomorrowland home to India – or create something of our own equal, or if it is even possible, better!




I’ve started so I’ll finish… or not

Well I don’t often bare my personal thoughts publicly, but there has been something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for a while so here goes…

A year ago I started something that meant a great deal to me, that as yet I’ve been unable to finish. I wanted to make a film. It started out as a simple film about musicians from India and the UK touring each other’s countries. As someone who has moved away from everything I know and love in the uk – my family, career as a sound engineer, being part of a community of techies, musicians, artists and crazy circus performers, all working doing what they love, often not for money but for a belief that through their art they can change the world for the better.

Also I moved away from a broken heart, the loss of my job at Boomtown and friendships I thought were solid until I decided to keep my baby and be a single parent. While I made peace with many of those that hurt me, I knew the UK, the small island that it is, had lost its calling and I had reached the limits of what I could do there professionally. India, the country that contained a music, arts and festival scene that was exploding, exciting and loaded with new challenges and opportunities to create – a new culture to immerse myself and my daughter in and a fresh start and fresh career- it was calling me.

Through my film I felt I could bring the best parts of these two worlds together. When I went back to shoot at Glastonbury festival, I was reminded of the beautiful energy of the people working there to make a positive change in the world. The film became so much more – not only about two groups of musicians experiencing each other’s culture, but about the potential for positive social change such exchanges opened up and the hurdles that existed to such a venture, both financially and in regards to freedom of movement across borders. Amongst many others, I met some people from South America running a grassroots festival there who also felt the same as me – that the power of music and art at music festivals and other such events has a huge transformative potential. The film became about facilitating this foreign exchange, advocating it – for better or worse, about this more than objectively filming that very thing in a documentary.

If I am to be very honest with myself it was also about the maybe selfish motive of keeping that connection with the scene I loved and the people I loved in the UK and the new world I was part of in India. I returned to India with grand plans of creating a non-profit entity to aid non commercial/independent musicians and artists to be able to participate in performance changes to each other’s countries – doing my bit to make the world a better place and helping out some amazing artists and friends on the way. The organisation would springboard off the film and it would begin by bringing a UK musician to India that winter. I would also finish my other (first) film project on the musicians, performers and travellers working to help the Syrian refugees.

Not long after I returned to India, I was unexpectedly hospitalised and suffered a traumatic experience involving my ovaries, a corrupt insurance company and crooked, nasty doctor and a narcissistic abusive relationship. I suffered PTSD and depression and anxiety as a result, but kept on going – I had to for my daughter- and I got my head down and tried my best in my new full time job for an Indian events company. The job is fantastic but demanding and between keeping my head afloat at work, trying to organise a tour, a second shoot at Boomtown festival (remotely from India) and trying to be a good mum, I struggled and failed at pretty much all of the above.

In India I lacked the network and support of kindred spirits willing to make the tour and film happen. I couldn’t apply for Arts funding in the UK as I am not resident there and I couldn’t apply for funding in India as Im not a citizen here. I tried to seek help from the British council and received a very firm good luck but fuck off. The numerous huge forms and impossible deadlines for funding piled up with no help, guidance or time to fill and I watched everything slipping away. People who initially promised help lost interest or let me down. I didn’t have the resources solo and I just had to admit it. It felt immensely lonely and all I could do was put my project on the back burner and try to prioritise keeping my job and being there for my daughter and partner.

It was soul crushing when I had to admit that I couldn’t organise the tour and had spent the last bit of my credit card on the Boomtown shoot. I had all this footage and minimal experience in editing a film – my blind belief that sheer bloody mindedness and conviction in what I felt was a worthy cause would enable it to happen. simply wasn’t enough. It was overwhelming. It ate away at me night and day. I felt I had let so many people down – the bands, my work who had supported me above and beyond enabling me to do the first uk shoot, all my friends and colleagues in the UK, my family and myself. I couldn’t bear to look at the footage, to try to raise more funds – I felt sorry for myself that more people hadn’t helped me and hadn’t felt as passionately about the subject matter. I felt that I was wrong to have even tried and that as family finances were not great I had made a bad decision putting money I didn’t have into a failed project. I felt I owed the world who was laughing at me now surely, a huge apology and more isolated than ever from the UK.

My day to day life had become about making slogans for corporate company’s employee r&r events, pushing through the harsh crowds on the Mumbai local train and fighting guilt, insomnia and nightmares.  I believed I had become a horrible person to be around. The only joy in my life was the time spent with my daughter. The only thing I felt proud of about myself was that I could still read to her every night and pay her school fees and give her fun and love.

My thirty-sixth birthday approached and with still no fulfilling relationship, no sure immigration status or residency and the general feelings of insecurity this produced, along with crazy stuff going on with my hormones producing yet more insecurities, coupled with the occasional urge to cut my hair and dye it a crazy colour – I had finally arrived at mid-life crisis.

A few faithful and beloved friends persistently kept in touch despite the distance and time difference and a few more over here persistently invited me out despite me rarely accepting and generally not being any fun at all when we did meet. I was absolutely adamant that I didn’t want to have a birthday.

Then the day came. I went to see a doctor about my hormones – whatever it may be it should be treatable and there is hope I can feel normal again in that dreaded week of my cycle. I refused several lovely offers of lovely company and sat down at my computer to face my demons. The first thing I was faced with was broken files, lost work and missing data.

The next morning I started afresh with a new edit project for what I have shot of my film so far. I know it will not be easy and maybe it will never be the film I had originally planned, but if I can make something meaningful and call it my best shot I can maybe live with myself. Who knows, maybe if I can make something that gets my belief across, that if we don’t give up in life when it feels like the world is against us, and keep on being creative, putting our art out there, regardless of what it earns us or costs us, or what anyone else thinks, maybe, just maybe we can make the world a better place.. and maybe, just maybe someone else will feel the same, maybe, just maybe one day with the help of others, I will be able to make something more than what I can do on my own.

I think of the people I have shot and interviewed in my film so far and the ones I still want to shoot – they are the ones who have achieved this and are living this – the ones who inspired me. I owe it to them to finish what I’ve started. Better late than never..


I never finished my film, but years later I came to terms with accepting failure, learning from mistakes forgiving others and yourself and letting go of the past.

I also discovered a load of lost footage and have been editing short interviews and uploading on my YouTube channel.

I thought about deleting this post, but didn’t in case it can make someone else feel better about an unfinished passion project/ mental health moment and just to remind myself that even when the world feels like it is all falling apart it might just be ok in the end… (and that I am rubbish at film making and not to try it again!)

The Gods That Ate Everything

29c4d9e09843f487bd1edd10e8e94ef0The last week or two in Mumbai we have seen a lot of celebrations (and a lot of chaos!) in the streets. Ganesh Chaturthi has filled the streets with processions of drummers and dancers as bappas were paraded towards their final destinations to be immersed in water. Eid has filled the streets with proud men with plump goats on strings decorated with tinsel.

The whole affair is driving my friend crazy. He is a firm believer that religion should be celebrated in private, kept off the streets and out of people’s faces. He feels that the whole show and pomp put on by the competing revelers is dissolving the meaning behind the festivals, rendering them a pointless, noisy menace.

Me on the other hand, I love a good street party. I love the colour, music, atmosphere and community spirit. I think it is important to keep cultures and traditions alive plus I always welcome the prompt to explore the deeper meanings and lessons to be learnt from these traditions.

However, several weeks in, suffering from a fever bed bound, the cacophony of the endless festivities outside was too much even for me. Poor Ganesh with his large elephant ears must have himself been half deafened.

A particular highlight of Ganpati celebration is the troops of drummers that are accompanied by a keyboard player. The keyboard is often amplified through tinny-screechy sounding tannoy speakers strapped to the top of a rickshaw or car. You can be certain that whatever they keyboard player is playing (seemingly random notes that occasionally bear some resemblance to popular Bollywood songs from the 1970s) will have absolutely no correlation with the accompanying drummers. The dancing public seem to be blissfully unaware/ indifferent to this dissonance and continue to whirl around, let off crackers and shout ‘Morya!’ with great enthusiasm. My head felt like it was going to explode.

“So now you understand?” says my friend, “the whole affair is about show-off; who has the biggest Bappa covered in the most glitter, spent the most money, hired the biggest troop of drummers, put up a mobile soundsystem. Last year there were many complaints because the DJs were playing trashy songs like ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ and ‘Gangnam Style.’ What has that got to do with religion? And with Eid – it is about coming on the road and showing off who has the fattest goat. It used to be that the meat was given to the poor but that rarely happens anymore. They just shit everywhere and cause a nuisance all for ego not god. Why can’t people keep religion in their own homes?”

While, despite my headache I did not entirely agree with him, our conversation got me thinking about a story I had read our daughter about Ganesh and Kubera. Here is my retelling of it in my own words:

Kubera was the god of wealth and he was a massive show-off. He loved to put on the most lavish parties to prove his status as the richest (and therefore most important) god around. He had the finest wines, the most gourmet food and the most opulent décor. All that was lacking to complete the perfection was the caliber of the guests.

Kubera knew what he had to do – he had to persuade Shiva and Parvati, the heads of all the gods to be his guests. He would spend so much money on them that everyone in the whole world would admire him!

Off he went to Kailash with golden invitations and a heart full of pride at his genius idea. Shiva and Parvati were busy however, and in their place sent their son Ganesh, assuring Kubera that he would be a most fitting guest for the occasion.

Undeterred, Kubera pulled out all the stops and showered his guest with compliments and expensive canapes.

“I want the main course!” Demanded Ganesh.

Kubera presented an enormous spread on a mile long banquet table. Ganesh gobbled it up in ten seconds flat. “More!” the god demanded, “I’m still hungry! I will tell my parents what a stingy miser you are not feeding me enough!”

Kubera was starting to get worried. Ganesh had eaten all the food in the palace so he sent his men out to get all the food in the city and the surrounding villages. The village people cried as Kubera’s men took away their food. “What will we feed our children?” They cried.

ganesha_and_kuberaWhen all the food in all the land was presented at the palace once more Ganesh swallowed it all, without even chewing. “Still hungry!” shouted Ganesh, his belly filling half the hall.

“But Ganesh!” pleaded Kubera, “I have no food left!”

“You miser! You peasant! I thought you were rich!” Exclaimed Ganesh before starting to eat up all the guards and servants and anyone else who crossed his path. “Next Kubera I am going to eat you!” Shouted Ganesh.

Kubera ran away in fright. Outside he saw the starving people. “Oh great rich king!” they pleaded, “help us as you are so wealthy and generous!”

Kubera ran faster, he could not bear to admit he had nothing and was now as poor as them. There was only one place left to go – back to Kailash to ask for help.

When Shiva and Parvati saw Kubera’s panicked face they laughed. “How silly you are,” said Parvati kindly, “you made the mistake of thinking that people will respect and admire you more if you show off your wealth. Us enlightened gods know the truth however, if you want to impress and honor us then it does not matter how big or small your offering is – what matters is that it is done with humility and love. We have no use for these offerings of food and material riches so afterwards they should be given to the people who need them. Only then will we be satisfied.”

Kubera knew then what he had to do. He went back to Ganesh and knelt before him.

“Oh lord Ganesh! I have nothing left to offer you to demonstrate my wealth. I found these few grains of rice on the kitchen floor. It is not much but I offer them now to you to show my respect for you. They are merely a token. What I really offer to you is my heart and myself as your humble servant and my thanks for all that is good. I offer my prayers that everyone else can be rich in happiness and never go hungry.”

Ganesh smiled and took the rice. “Now I am full. In fact I am too full!” And with that Ganesh opened his mouth and out came all the people, all their food and everything Kubera had fed Ganesh. Kubera was so grateful he used to food to put on a feast for all the poorest citizens of his kingdom and made sure that in the future if he ever held a party that everyone was invited, regardless of how rich or poor they were!

The End

I think this story teaches a valuable lesson. With my friend being a Hindu he celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi at home for three days. On the third day he took all the sweets and fruits he had offered down along with his Bappa and distributed the food to all the fotorcreated-1children who live on his road. When I say they live on his road I literally mean ON his road – in small shacks built from tarpaulin or just on the pavement. My daughter handed out the sweets and played with the children and finally understood why the sweets that had tempted her for days were not for her. Then we took his Bappa and immersed him in the purpose built pool at the end of the street where he could biodegrade and not cause any pollution. He bought him from a street-side craftsman as opposed to from a mall or supermarket and next year, inspired by a story I read last year we want to make a Bappa out of chocolate, immerse in milk and make chocolate milkshake for all the kids.

My Muslim friend at work told me how he would go home for Eid the following week and his family would take their goat to a special community place where after sacrifice, one third of the meat would be donated for the poor and needy with the remaining two thirds going to family and friends. He also mentioned how each year his family gives alms as part of a Muslim festival.

We have a duty as both individuals and the community to celebrate festivals, both religious and secular for the right reasons and in a responsible way for the environment and our neighbors. The solution is not banning public displays of religion, much as it would please my friend, but to look at the lessons those religions are trying to teach us and do our best to understand and abide by them.

Wishing you all a (slightly belated) happy Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid. !

Vat Savitri Vrat London Style


Last Sunday I fasted on the Hindu festival of Vat Savitri Vrat (or Vat Purnima as it is know in some states). This is the day when many Hindu women in India fast and pray to the divine for their husband’s prosperity and long healthy life.

The same festival appears to me to be celebrated on a completely separate date as Kawa Chauth in October. Being a novice to the whole religion I went with what my google Hindu calendar told me – I’m sure I will give it another go in October also as I really enjoyed the whole festival, be it by myself on my boat in London!

So I can already hear the feminists among you crying out “why would you fast for a man?! why should you make this sacrifice?! You are not even a Hindu!” I would like to share with you my reading of the Savitri story and my own personal reasons for doing this pooja. I will begin with my interpretation of the legend of the Devi Savitri herself:

Savitri, beautiful daughter of King Aswapati was married to Satyawaan and she loved him to the moon and back. One day Lord Yama, the god of death came along to take her husband’s soul. Savitri was having absolutely none of this so she followed him around demanding it back being a right pain in his backside. To relieve this headache and make her go away he says he will grant her three wishes, but none of these can be for the soul of her husband back.

Savitri was clever (being a woman obviously) and first wished for the good health and long life of her inlaws. “Done” said Lord Yama, “Next?” For her second wish she asked for the long life and good health of her own parents. “No problem” said Lord Yama, thinking “well this is easy.” However, for her last wish she said “I wish for a son.”

“Ok no worries one son coming right up” said Lord Yama being rather dismissive about the whole thing. 

“But Lord Yama, you know I am a virtuous and loyal wife to my husband – how can I get a son if my husband is dead – for you know I could never remarry or love another?”

“Oh drat! You’ve got me there woman!” Said Lord Yama “Well OK then – here is your husband back – I can’t break my promise of three wishes.”

And thus clever Savitri had outsmarted death and went on to have 100 sons and live happily ever after…

A lovely story I’m sure you will all agree, but why fast? The way I see it is that Savirti had some guts and determination and serious willpower. Hindus worship her as Devi (goddess) on this day as she embodies the feminine Shakti (energy AKA Girl Power!) which is so strong and smart and powerful that it can outwit even death itself – such is the power of love and call me a hippy, but the power of love is a good thing to celebrate.

Through fasting, meditation and prayer and exercising  your willpower on your own body to ignore its desires, you can feel very empowered – of course spiritually there is a lot more to this – maybe I will write a further blog on the subject one day. You also get to wear your nicest clothes (a particularly glittery salwar kameeze suit in my case) and you are not allowed to do any housework all day long (oh well!).

At the end of my fast, with all that feminine shakti and looking beautiful and feeling accomplished and great I prayed for all the men out there because let’s face it they need it!

Women are not giving anything up on Vat Savitri – they are being reminded of their strength as women and the feminine goddess-like power contained in all women and mother earth. Very generously a bit of that is given out to the men in the form of prayer – after all, we do love them! Happy Vat Savitri London!

Here are some links to more information about the festival:

Photoblog: Sound Engineering In India

So before my story takes me back across the pond here is a little photoblog with some of my favourite pics of shows I worked on in India as a sound engineer:

Sunburn, Mumbai, 2013


First Stop for the RedBull Tourbus! Wilson College Mumbai, 2013




Harley Davidson show, Mehboob Studios, Mumbai, 2013




NH7 Festival Pune, 2013




And in India we do this with our digital multicore!



It has all been too much for Savio and Ram!




Russel Peters, Bandra MMRDA ground, Mumbai, 2013





India Bike Week 2013, Goa




Modi Rally, Mumbai Racecourse – too many delay stacks to count and more than a million very patriotic Indians!



Vandan – probably the most amazing percussion set-up I have ever seen!




Sleeping – a common theme on Indian shows!


Very posh wedding! Mumbai Racecourse, 2013



Sunburn, Mumbai, Racecourse, 2013


Nice to see Josh Wink again – bizarre reminiscing over the last time we met working on together in Cardiff some ten years back- bit of a different experience!


Jain Cultural event


Nicky Romero, Sunburn, Mumbai




Not something you would see on an EDM show in UK – an offering to the gods! Complete with coconuts, incense and flowers – a baba also came and blessed the show. The show was awesome…



Hands firmly in the air!


Cabling up K1, Indian style!


EVC, Ambay Valley, 2013






Yep, they had hot air balloon rides at this festival!


Zambhala Yoga Festival 2013, Goa


Admiring the K1 set-up for Supersonic festival Goa, 2013.





Love the sea of mobile phone lights – the new “lighters in the air!”





Bandra Bandstand, Mumbai – YouTube Awards




Setting up for EDM party in a hotel in Nashik.


Portraits of Bombay and Beyond (part 1)

Normally I write a blog about being an ex-pat living and working in Mumbai. Today I am giving you a photography blog for a change to my usual ranting. Here are some portraits of some of the amazing people we’ve met or just spotted in this wonderful country. I hope you enjoy them…


















The First Red Tent in India


This December I’ve had the delight of my job taking me to Goa for two very different festivals.

The first of which was a yoga and mind body spirit kind of affair. As the only female sound engineer in my company (and possibly in the whole of India! -I would love to meet another!) I had the unexpected pleasure of being assigned to the women only red tent. The men who had sent me there were somewhat fearful and at the same time intrigued by this womblike red cavern and the fierce band of women ruling the space. One guy joked that if would love to record the sound so he could find out what on earth they were doing in here! I was wondering the same thing myself as the women carefully created am altar in the center of the tent, fussing over candles and flowers and the authenticity of their firewood- I pitied the production manager responsible for ensuring their every need was satisfied- while immediately liked each of the red tent team they definitely struck me as women I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of!

As it turned out there were no sound requirements for the morning session other than music playback at the end so I joined in the first activity, rather harmlessly titled ‘Breath Work.’ little did I realise I was to be brought back to the moment of my birth via a trance like state induced by a breathing technique that many people (mistakenly) think is hyperventilating. We were all assured that no one has died of breathing and it was perfectly safe so I laid back and gave it my best. My first thought was that it brought me back to the experience of giving birth rather than my own birth. The feeling produced by the breathing was very similar to the gas given to you when you are in labour. My head started spinning and all my limbs and extremities were tingling. This developed into painful cramps and I passed out a couple of times, my consciousness spiraling off down a dark tunnel with a eerie green light at the end.

Previous to the session we were briefed on the fact that all these things might happen and were perfectly normal as it was our bodies physical manifestation of our resistance to let go of our ‘personal lie’- our deepest innermost fear or insecurity. We also talked about our own births i.e. were they natural or did we have a chord around the neck, forceps etc. This worried me a little as I was a cesarean and as far as I knew adopted from birth, so I wasn’t entirely sure it was an experience I wanted to relive. With all this in mind, after the seed of thought had been planted I naturally began to consider what my personal lie might be whilst flat on my back in my trance. I found myself wanting to cry and overwhelmed with emotion but there was a voice in my head telling me not to let go as technically I was at work- imagine if one of the boys came to ask me for a microphone or cable or something and found me half passed out in floods of tears on the floor proclaiming that I am terrified of being rejected! Not a good look!

Imagebra on mixing desk (not mine!)

Anyway the session got over and the day went on with a goddess galaxy ceremony run by fashion designer Malini Ramani and a talk on what it means to be feminine by a sex psychotherapist Shanta Gyanchand topped off in the evening by a film on the history of the red tent movement. Red tents have been around for a long, long time. Originally they were places where women went to at their time of the month to bleed together and I expect have a bloody good moan as we all like to when we are brimful of hormones and menstrual cramps. Over time some hippies and a few feminists decided this was a good idea and it would be great to have a space where women could meet and share stories and love and generally be empowered as well as have a good moan about their periods. I fully agree with them after watching the film and seeing first hand the effect the red tent had on the women that visited over the weekend. My personal highlight had to be the wisdom imparted by Shanta in her talk on interpreting women’s sexual fantasies using dream analysis theory- fascinating stuff! Apparently the reason why lots of women have submissive fantasies, sometimes to the extremes of rape or sexual slavery, is because women often find themselves having a lot of heavy responsibility in their lives and in these submissive situations all responsibility is relinquished- makes a whole load of sense!

I also loved Deepti Datt’s reinterpretation of Sleeping beauty as related to the coming of age of a young girl (getting your period) and the rest of the details I won’t reveal here as they are a treat best heard first-hand.

This was the first time there has been a red tent here in India- a fact which really surprised me considering India’s large hippy populace who are especially concentrated here in Goa. The tent was run by two women of Indian origin, which also surprised me and I felt uncomfortable about the fact that it did. This was until I thought about it somewhat and realised that the reason it surprised me was exactly the reason why India needs the red tent movement- women have been oppressed here and many still are. Often this happens in their own homes and there is a definite need for a space they can go where they can talk openly without being judged in terms of religious rules or the expectations of Indian society. Of course there is a feminist movement here but red tents are not simply about feminism or hippies- they are about support, healing and education which is something every woman has a need for regardless of social background. I was very privileged to witness and be a part of one and really excited to see several women announcing at the end their intent to take the idea away and start up red tent women’s circles in their own Indian cities and wish them the best of luck!

For more information please check out

“it’s a little different here….”

I did an interesting show the other day – a 100th birthday party and community celebration in a sports stadium, complete with dancers, live band, giant video screens and about a tonne of gold glitter. I was for the Jain community – a rather gentle religion who have a somewhat remorseless discipline – they get up at 4am and are in bed by 10pm and never eat after sunset. They are teetotal, vegetarian and don’t even eat root vegetables, not only because they come from the ground which is considered dirty, but because if you pull up a plant by it’s root it dies and they don’t believe in hurting anyone or anything which is most lovely. All seems to work for them if they are living till 100 years old!
The following week I was back at the same venue for a rather different show, also a birthday, with a considerably larger sound system – a DJ gig where the star act complimented his performance by selecting over-excited girls from the audience, pulling them up onto the stage and then splatting them in their faces with giant cakes before throwing them back into the crowd atop an inflatable rubber dinghy, well whatever floats your boat…. I’m not sure what the Jain community would have made of it all but the crowd loved it!
A question i get asked a lot, both by people back home and also my Indian friends is “what is it like working here? How is it different to Europe?” The first thing I would reply is that everything most definitely happens at it’s own pace. There is no such thing as a four hour load in for a show – you can spend days watching scaffold towers being built for you to hang your speakers off with NO shade at all, huddled behind your bass bins squeezing into the tiny patch of cool dark behind. Yes everything appears to be disorganised and chaotic and yes health and safety is pretty much non existent with guys rigging in flip-flops or barefoot atop 50ft trussing with no harness in sight. Stages can be held together by bamboo and string. You get fed up of the answer to everything being “done in five minutes madam” when you know full well that it won’t be. Everyone expects you to be some kind of audio genius because you are a foreigner when actually you are just human and clearly don’t know everything, especially after taking best part of two years off to have a baby and don’t even get me started on the six day week and comparatively low wages (which everyone resents you for earning because they are undeservedly so much more compared to them). At times I am finding it all soul destroying and I never anticipated it would be this challenging, but something is keeping me here and it’s not just the weather.
When you go to a show in India and you see the reaction of the audience – they are that much MORE excited than the European crowds, there are that many more hands firmly in the air – the raw energy and enthusiasm and sheer joy on people’s faces gives you the best job satisfaction that you can imagine. The crowds are that much more crazy here and it is all NEW; new bands, new music, new venues, new people – a change from the daily UK grind. The people you end up working with give so much to their work you can’t help but find it inspiring. Yes the work pressure is intense but that is pushing me to learn new stuff (and remember the stuff I’ve forgotten over time or which has been lost in the fog of pregnancy hormones). The festival industry here is young comparatively and I can’t wait to see it blossom and grow – in a country with so much colour and vibrancy the potential for creativity at these events is boundless. It feels like live music here can only get more exciting – I hope I get to stay a while longer….