Guwahati-based events company Aucto Creation has been handling the production of the Meghalaya edition of the happiest music festival BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender since the past 4 years. Sprawling across an area of approximately 14 acres, the entire terrain on Jaintia Hills near Jowai, was leveled and reconstructed over a period of three months in 2017 to convert it into a functional festival environment. The same venue has undergone some repairs for damages made by rain, and refurbishing of the existing roads for this year’s festival, scheduled to be held on November 2 and 3.
Speaking about their experience on building of the site, Manish Chandani, production head, BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender, said, “To say that the Meghalaya site built in 2017 was by far the most challenging and the longest production project I have worked on, is an understatement. But standing on the Jaintia Hills looking out over the Festival, as the moon rose over the horizon and the stages sprung to life – it was by far the most rewarding.”
“Our biggest challenge throughout the three-month build was retaining the inherent beauty of the site, while turning it into a functional festival environment, with all the amenities, to make it suitable, safe, and breathtaking for our Festival goers. I think we achieved that. We built close to 10 kms of access roads from scratch, and who knew we could learn so much about the behaviour of rain water along the way! We have had exceptional help from the local communities from the beginning, and continue to have this as we build the 2018 event”, he added.
Around 125 people were a part of this mammoth production. During the three-month-long project, the production team constructed and repaired approximately 10kms of access and peripheral roads to and around the venue, with a network of drains around each stage to guide ground water to the stream flowing behind the venue thus ensuring that the venue remained dry. They leveled approximately 10,000sq feet of land, adding up to 8 layers of sand, stones and wood in some places. The team also transplanted around 50,000sq feet of grass.
Speaking about coming back to Meghalaya for the fourth consecutive season, Supreet Kaur, festival director of BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender, says “Meghalaya has become the festival’s second home and we look forward to coming back every year. The support that the audience and locals have shown us here has been overwhelming. Our focus has always been to produce a memorable show for our patrons while maintaining an eco-friendly and safe festival site for all.”
The BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender team also ensured that the waste generated during the two-day festival did not harm the environment. To ascertain this, BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender collaborated with Skrap, a Mumbai based waste management company founded by Divya Ravichandran. The team managed, recycled and dug up compost for around 7,800+ kilos of waste generated during the festival last year. This was almost 80-85% of the total garbage generated during the festival.
Speaking about the waste management initiatives, Divya Ravichandran, founder of Skrap says, “We are acutely aware of the impact that large events have on the environment, especially in ecologically-sensitive regions such as the BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender venue in Meghalaya. And hence the event makes serious efforts to minimise the environmental impact. For Meghalaya especially, we follow a Leave No Trace policy to ensure the venue is left in pristine condition after the event.”
“An exciting new initiative is the festival’s Cup Reuse policy to encourage fans to reuse their beverage cups. Fans will get cool discounts at the bar on reusing their cups for refills. Plastic straws have been banned at the festival and now replaced with paper straws. The food stalls will only serve food in compostable serving wares like areca leaves and sugarcane bagasse, and the crew food will be served in reusable serving wares like ceramic, stainless steel, etc. Also, our ‘Trash Talk’ volunteers will help guide fans on segregation of food waste and recyclable waste”, she adds.
BACARDÍ NH7 is also committed to curbing food wastage, and has a comprehensive food donation program in place to share any excess leftover food with the local communities.