Shibani Kumar, 23, does not work in the music industry. She does however, “love music”. And that apparently is all the qualifications you need to get musicians like Nikhil D’souza to play a secret gig in your living room. A dentist by profession, Shibani co-hosted an event this past Sunday that’s part of an international movement called SofarSounds, which aims at bringing “music lovers together in an unusual setting, often in a living room.”
The living room belonged to co-host Arpana Gvalani (of Gostana fame), who tweeted “fun to see dad grooving to @notsiddcoutto & @NikhilDsouza5”, and the make-shift stage to musicians Sidd Coutto, Nikhil D'souza, Alisha Paes and Discordian. The first Indian SofarSounds gig took place in Pune featuring Shaa’ir + Func; the second in Delhi with Mrigya, among others.
Sure, you have to love music to qualify to play host, but you also have to be super resourceful. Shibani tells you how she did it.
Hosting: If you want to host, all you have to do is visit www.sofarsounds.com and shoot them an email. They’ll then get back to you with check lists and rules (see below) for hosting.
Your Living Room: Your home doesn’t have to be super fancy, but your living room should be able to fit at least 20 people. We moved all the furniture in Arpana’s living room, created floor seating and cleared an area for the stage.
The Bands: This is the hard part: getting in touch with music artists and convincing them to play in a living room, pro bono. But before you approach the artists, you have to send a list of recommendations to SofarSounds. They do some due diligence, short list the musicians and send it back.
Arpana and I both know people who are friends with musicians, so we rallied the troops to help out. But in case you don’t have friends like ours, musicians are pretty accessible via email or social media. Also, SofarSounds is an established movement with artists like The Magic Numbers and Rob Pattinson playing at previous gigs, so that helps.
Photo, Sound and Videowallahs: Again, you have to convince them to do it for free. We put the word out through buddies and Facebook (you can’t publicize the event before, it’s meant to be a secret), and got Lucid Illusions to take pictures, Soumitra Mathur to do the video and Rubber Duck Studios to do the sound.
Guest List: The guest list is entirely up to you, but the idea is to invite people who love music. Those who would appreciate this kind of gig and respect the musicians – so you’re not allowed to talk, use your phone or drink alcohol during the sets. If you want to be invited, you can subscribe to Sofar’s newsletter, track their secret gig list around the world and write to them. They sent three people to our Sunday evening show.
Publicity: Given the whole ‘secret gig’ thing, publicity can only happen during the show. People were live tweeting and posting pictures of musicians without disclosing the location, and that succeeded in creating a buzz.
Photo credit: Lucid Illusions
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