|My name is Sheila: Sunidhi Chauhan worked the crowd like magic at the Jnan Ghosh Stadium at IIT Kharagpur as much with her voice as with her words. The Bolly singer took the mic to heady chants of “Sheila, Sheila” and for the next two hours, she coaxed, she teased and she drove the youngsters wild, belting out chartbusters like Sheila ki jawaani, Beedi, Dhanno, Crazy kiya re, Sajna ji vari vari, Dance pe chance and Bindaas. Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta|
The bleary-eyed, harried and bedraggled boys and girls prowling the IIT Kharagpur campus were not part of the horror theme at Spring Fest 2011, held from January 21 to 24. Well, at least not intentionally. They’re the Spring Fest team — two general secretaries, 17 heads of teams and 24 members — responsible for putting up the largest campus fest in eastern India.
“When we chose the theme, we hardly thought that we would start looking the part ourselves,” laughed Ravi Kiran, the event co-ordinator of Spring Fest.
It all began in April 2010, when the general secretaries were elected and the 17 heads nominated. Study groups made way for working committees that met at 10pm every night and debates on mechanics were replaced with brainstorming and discussions on budgets, bands and bookings.
The first step: deciding the theme.
“The moment ‘horror’ was suggested as the theme, we were flooded with ideas for decorations and events. Each one was doable, so horror it was,” recalled Anju, the events head of Spring Fest 2011.
|ALL SMILES CLUB: A 10,000-strong crowd on the Kharagpur campus clapped, danced and sang along with Sunidhi Chauhan|
Theme decided, it was time to move on to graver matters — raising sponsorships, without which the fest budget of Rs 90 lakh would remain a “ghost story”.
Lists of names and numbers, passed down from batch to batch, were dug out, contacts updated and alumni sounded out. And then started the long process of calling up companies and pitching to the marketing managers.
“We list the companies sector-wise and just keep calling. Our alumni are of tremendous help. Sometimes we see a commercial on TV or a hoarding and immediately bring out our notepads to scribble down potential sponsors,” said Phani Kumar, who led the sponsorship team.
While Kumar and Co. got busy raking in the moolah, the events team plunged into the technical nitty-gritty — designing events, preparing artiste lists and drawing up schedules. Another team burnt the midnight oil picking fonts, designing the website, printing brochures. Soon, it was time for the Puja break.
The team headed out of campus but no one went home. They visited companies in different cities for sponsorships and campuses to invite participants. Many forgot to call home but no one forgot to log on to the web conferences for fest updates.
“We were always in touch, planning for the fest even when we were in different cities. There was always so much to discuss,” said Vasanth Kamath, the media co-ordinator for Spring Fest ’11.
The December break went the same way — last-minute changes, more planning, drawing up duty rosters for the four days, listing accommodation and hosting the preliminary rounds of Wildfire (the rock competition) in five cities.
Twenty days before D-day, the designers were given a free run of the Arena — the heart of the fest — and they went on an overdrive to make the place as spooky as possible. “We make it a point to have dry runs. We go through a real-time rehearsal of the fest, day by day. And by the time we were done, the first participants started arriving and we realised this was it… for better or for worse,” said Kiran.
For the team, the ecstasy they saw on thousands of faces those four days made the agony of the past nine months worth it and more.
UNPLUGGED: Indian Ocean was back at IIT Kharagpur after four years to stage the closing act of the 52nd edition of Spring Fest. With songs from albums old and new, the band provided a grand finale to four days of fun and festivities for students from across the country
M FOR METAL: IIT Kharagpur turned into a mosh pit as metal-heads from the campus and Calcutta crowded the stadium for a performance by TesseracT — a progressive metal band from England. And the music by the band, with lead vocalist Dan Tompkins, guitarists Acle Kahney and James Monteith, drummer Jay Postones and bassist Amos Williams, made Spring Fest a
LET IT RIP: After two gruelling qualifying rounds, Calcutta band What Escapes Me (in picture) won Wildfire, the biggest amateur rock band competition in eastern India. Their metal sounds set the stage for an electrifying performance by guest metal band Zygnema from Mumbai
STEP BY STEP: The Salsa workshop below Vikramshila Auditorium turned out to be one of the most popular events at Spring Fest as boys and girls paired up with their favourites
UP IN THE AIR: Those who love the feel of thrill, like this
first-year student of IIT Kharagpur, tried their hand at adventure sports that included rapeling and other rope feats