Demonetization Woes: Ticketed & Consumer Event Planners Narrate Their Predicament
by Shantanu Jain Industry Watch | December 9, 2016 | News
Comic Con India Trifecta Entertainment
Ever since the demonetization of INR 500 and INR 1000 notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, multiple event planners and industry veterans have enthusiastically spoken on how the change in policy is a boon for the country and events fraternity in the long run.
However, even after one month of the policy implementation, not much has changed. People are still queuing up outside banks and ATM’s, new amendments in cash limits are being announced every day and there is widespread chaos in villages and cities alike, with citizens wondering if the economic situation of the country will ever be back to normal.
The event Industry too has faced a significant blow because of demonetization as organizers of ticketed and consumer centric events have had to de-market and postpone their festivals due to the absence of cash from the economy. Events such as GoBazzinga Momo Festival, NDMC Palate Fest, Delhi Cookout World Barbecue Festival, The Gourmet High Street Phoenix are all examples of this.
In this exclusive feature, EVENTFAQS reached out to the organizers to these festivals to understand their side of the story and the challenges they have faced.
Shantanu Verma, CEO, GoBazzinga and the organizer of the GoBazzinga Momo Festival says, “The reasons for postponing the GoBazzinga Momo Festival from November 26-27 to December 17-18 are twofold. Firstly, the participating restaurants at the festival had little to no cash at hand to go ahead with the festival or pay the laborers who would have created the set-up for them. Also, we realized that PayTM servers were crashing beyond a limit with multiple payments being made at the same time. Hence, it made no sense to do a festival and offer your audiences who have travelled from across the country a limited experience. Yes, we faced economic losses too.”
Adding further Verma commented, “We are more than ready for the festival now as this time we have partnered with PayTM to provide a better server to the audiences at the festival. Participating restaurants also have new currency with them now and they will also be equipped with card machines to offer a hassle-free experience to attendees.”
Shantanu Verma- CEO, GoBazzinga
Another prominent event that has faced a major obstruction in this regard is the Delhi Cook Out World Barbecue Festival. The organizers of the property, Trifecta Entertainment, decided to re-schedule the festival too and are coming up with another event property in the meanwhile. However, this time they promise to be completely prepared to put up a stunning show despite the absence of liquid cash in the economy.
Speaking about it Anshuman Gulati, Co-founder and Director, Trifecta Entertainment comments, “The sentiment of people has been impacted negatively due to demonetization and people are dealing with the sudden decreased liquidity. Sponsors are also shaky as they look for more clarity and a sense of certainty. On our end, we are working on creating an advantage by looking at innovative payment methods that can help people move away from cash transactions and prevent revenue leakage. This is what you will see at La Dolce Vita - Festival of Indulgence, on Dec 23rd-25th, at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj and Delhi Cook-Out at DLF Place, Saket from 3rd-5th of February 2017 where we are putting in seamless, integrated systems to help us go completely cashless.”
Abhishek Mankad, Raul Chandra, Anshuman Ghulati (Directors-Trifecta Entertainment)
Custodians of one of the biggest food festival properties, NDMC Palate Fest, Aditi Kapoor and Ruchi Sibal have faced hindrances too. They commented, “After the Prime Minister's revelation on 8th November regarding the demonetisation of the current currency, there has been a widespread anxiety which will take at least some days to stabilize. We have spent a lot of time deliberating on our next move. After an in-depth internal discussion, we strongly felt that whilst Palate is ready to commence it would not be fair on the participants and the partners. With the government enforcing a cash withdrawal limit we felt we needed to be sympathetic to the needs of the day and it seemed appropriate for us to postpone Palate and Imagine Fests to the 10, 11 & 12th February 2017."
Aditi Kapoor and Ruchi Sibal, Founders- NDMC Palate Fest
Kavneet Sahni, one of the organizers of the Gourmet High Street, who too had to postpone her festival remarked, “The Gourmet High Street is a very consumer heavy Show. Our visitors, buy tickets to come and shop products, at show discounted prices. With demonetization being announced just 1 month before the show, the market sentiment has been very negative. Our exhibitors, visitors and vendors all have been affected by it and hence we decided to postpone the show till situation becomes normal.”
Speaking on the economic losses her company The Culinary Communication faced, Kavneet added, “We as a company support demonization. We are just waiting for things to be back to normal and we would be announcing our new dates for the show very soon. However, the time and effort of all our employees and resources of the company to prepare for the festival got wasted. We have also faced business losses in terms of revenue not being generated from the show and the permissions and licenses acquired to do the event have all been wasted too.”
Kavneet Sahni, Organizer- Gourmet High Street
Comic Con India is one of the biggest pop culture event in the country today and is slated to begin from today. Its Founder Jatin Varma too has been impacted by demonetization but is going ahead with the festival dates unchanged after a lot of planning and changes. He commented, “Our Bangalore show was after the first weekend of the demonetization announcement, so we had to scramble to figure out various solutions from ensuring the ATMs had some cash to creating a centralized credit card payment centre to support exhibitors. It’s obviously affected every business in the country. As we head in to Delhi, everyone is gearing up to provide a slew of cashless payment options for visitors at the show. If you are visitor coming in, you won't face many issues in paying using your cards, some exhibitors will also offer payment via digital wallets.”
Jatin Varma, Founder- Comic Con India
Clearly, demonetization has had a terrible dark side too. One that every event organizer is facing now. As an industry, we are confident that the scrapping of high value currency is a bold and correct move to remove black money from the economy. However, its shaky implementation is causing serious troubles for even thriving businesses and lives of the citizens of the country, many of who have shut shop and decided to sit back till the situation normalizes. As we sit in our offices, waiting for the Indian economy to recover from this temporary paralyzed phase, we hope the government officials take note of the situation and take active steps in the same direction.
In the wake of multiple festivals being postponed, EVENTFAQS reaches out to festival organizers to get a complete picture of the situation that's a direct result of demonetization.