Protests over Storm Music Fest at Napoklu
The organizers of the Storm Music Festival should reconsider their decision to go ahead with the festival in January, 2012, in the wake of protests over apprehensions that the festival could lead to drug menace in Coorg (Kodagu) and cause damage to the ecology of the region.
The mega music festival, spread over two days was scheduled to be held from November 11, at a river bank at Napoklu, on the Western Ghats, one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world.
The festival to be held on the lines of Woodstock of 1960s was postponed abruptly. The show was to be hosted by well-known DJ, Nikhil Chinapa (in picture above).
N.A. Lavin Uthappa, the managing director of LiquidSpace Entertainment, the organizers of the event, was quoted in the media as saying: “It’s been raining quite heavily in Coorg, making the situation quite unhygienic and difficult. The unexpected untimely rains during this time of the year have made the festival venue slushy and muddy and many parts of the venue have been water logged making it inaccessible for people as well as vehicles.”
“”Keeping our patrons in mind, and a promise to deliver an experience of Coorg, music and responsible enjoyment, Storm Festival has been postponed to the 20th and 21st of January 2012.”
The apprehensions of the local people are justified because the organizers went about their business in a clandestine manner. Though banners were put up in Bangalore regarding the music festival, there was no publicity in Coorg about the event. So much so, hardly any of the locals knew about the festival.
As soon as the locals came to know about the festival, organizations like Cauvery Sene, which is in the forefront in fighting environmental issues, expressed their protests and urged the authorities to ban the festival in Coorg.
The booking for the festival, sponsored by major corporates, was done through the internet, and most of the publicity, including on Facebook, was done on the Net.
Keeping the local people in the dark was not the right thing to do when thousands of people from outside and some of the top bands in the country were going to converge on an environmentally sensitive area. The invitees were expected to stay in tents put up on a river bank spread over 28 acres.
EDITOR’S VIEW: The organizers will be doing a great favour to Coorg by shifting the venue of the festival out of the district.
Despite the promise to keep the festival free from drugs, this is not bound to happen because the use of drugs is part of such music events. What is worrying is that the organizers want to make the festival an annual feature.
The family of organizer Lavin Uthappa (Nellamakkada clan) have done much for the game of hockey in Coorg. Now, the younger members of the clan should keep up the reputation by not holding the event at Napoklu, the heartland of Kodava culture.
Similarly, DJ Nikhil Chinapa (Kalengada clan) who is hosting the event, also hails from Coorg and is a role model for the youth in the area.
Though a section of people, especially the youth in Coorg may want the festival to be held in their district, those really concerned with the future well-being of the place, would want the organizers to shift the event to a place outside.
Already, a large number of people are addicted to liquor in Coorg. Adding drug to the problem could be a deadly cocktail and wipe out the Kodava race in the long-run.