INCA Back with its 4th Edition! - In Conversation with Aman Anand

Business Events | September 17, 2019 | Interview

India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA) Kickstart Entertainment

The annual convention and award ceremony, INCA is back with its 4th Edition in Mumbai held from September 17th-19th, 2019. The India Nightlife Convention and Awards was founded by Aman Anand and co-founded by Riyaaz Amlani to bring together the Nightlife and Hospitality industry. The convention will be graced by industry experts along with international delegates from all over the world. It will be an educative and encapsulating session in ways and means towards the creation of progressive and distinctive nightlife culture in India. The awards will commemorate the achievements of nightlife and hospitality establishments across the country.

EVENTFAQS had a conversation with Aman Anand, Director, Kickstart Entertainment and Co-founder, India Nightlife Convention and Awards, to know more about what went into making INCA, their vision for the future, and the response so far.

How was the idea of India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA) conceived and how did you activate it?

After spending close to 2 decades in the events & entertainment industry across the spectrum, I realized that while there are plenty of awards happening for films, television, music, and even food, there were still no credible awards to recognize the Nightlife Industry fraternity. Even though we keep talking about how good or bad a particular bar or club might be, there was not a single platform that appreciated the people working relentlessly to make our evenings memorable. I happened to share this with my close friend Riyaaz Amlani (CEO and MD of Impresario Entertainment) and we felt that it was high time the members of the Nightlife fraternity were recognized for their contribution. That’s how we both decided to give a more definite shape to our common sentiment and that’s how INCA came into being.  We drew from our individual experiences. Riyaaz’s knowledge and understanding of the hospitality industry are superlative and in-depth. I brought in my learnings from producing some of India’s biggest events & festivals (Sunburn & IIFA, to name a few).

You have been the custodian of the INCA which was launched almost 4 years back. What has been the response to the initiative?

Honestly, it’s been amazing. Over the last three editions, we have only grown bigger. Right from inception, we got the unwavering support from the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). In addition, our entire process is extremely transparent and robust. We have EY as our process advisors and we can proudly claim that there is not an iota of influence allowed in selecting the winners. This has helped us gain immense respect and goodwill. We have over 25 categories covering almost all elements of Nightlife like Best Bar, Best Bar Interior, Best Dive Bar, Best Nightclub, and individual awards as well like Best Bartender, Best F&B Manager, Best Stand-up artist, etc. We have tried to ensure that INCA is not restricted to the outlet alone, but the people as well. This has encouraged more people and outlets to look forward to winning their own INCA. Currently, we cover 8 cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata. This year we received over 1200 entries from 800+ outlets, event promoters, and artists. This itself validates how our goodwill has been constantly on the rise. On the commercial front also, we have got excellent support from all leading brands. This year we have Heineken and Chivas who have joined hands with us.

How will the convention benefit people through employment in the nightlife and hospitality industry?

Each year, during the convention, we involve industry experts (including leading global professionals) for different panel discussions. Such engagements give a wholistic perspective on how to improve the nightlife industry. This not only includes ways to boost the businesses but also to make the working environment safer and more inclusive. In fact, one of the topics for this year’s panel discussion is “Inclusive is the New Exclusive” which will have Nino Brown (from Canada), Anya Sapozhnikova (House of YES), Monica Dogra, etc. as part of our panelists. Through this, we hope to help create more employment opportunities. Early this year, we also started with the Sisterhood Soiree. This is our attempt at highlighting the role of women in the Nightlife space, not as a consumer, but as an integral part of the fraternity. Even now, this space is predominantly male-dominated, but we are been strongly pushing to bring about a paradigm shift in the mindset of the people. We have already conducted three editions in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore and got a great response from both women and men. We involved women from different facets like bartending / mixology, photography, DJs, entrepreneurs, security services, chefs. Each edition saw enthusiastic participation and going forward, we intend to take this to a larger level. This initiative was actively supported by Heineken.

Safe Nightlife is another hot topic this year and we are sure this will help in making people more aware and also responsible as citizens. Along with some more relevant panel discussions and workshops by leading international and domestic delegates, we are sure the impact will translate into a better working environment and thereby generate many more opportunities for the youth aspiring to become a part of the hospitality/nightlife industry.

Can you share insights on how do you plan to bring an international nightlife format to India?

As I mentioned earlier, each year we invite some leading international speakers who are very well known and respected in their respective fields. Whether it’s an artist or an entrepreneur or nightlife administrator of their city, such experts share their experiences in bringing about path-breaking changes. The other panelists are also globetrotters and they too share their learnings. This helps the rest of the participants and audience to become aware of new global trends in terms of design/interiors, concepts, safety, sustainability, work environment, etc. This year we have Hayan Abou Assali, General Manager – Cavalli Club Dubai, Mirik Milan – Ex Night Mayor of Amsterdam & Co-founder of VibeLab, Anya from the House of YES among other international guests who will be sharing their experiences and views. I’m sure we are moving in the right direction with regard to making India a popular destination for its nightlife also, apart from the rich tradition and culture.

What other future initiatives are planned through programs/activation/engagement for INCA?

We are planning to extend our coverage to some more cities like Jaipur, and Indore. We certainly are looking to take Sisterhood Soiree a few notches higher. There are few other concepts at different stages, like exhibition/awards for Nightlife Photography, a hospitality job fair, etc. So, there are a few exciting things that are in the pipeline.

Read more about INCA in the below articles:

India Nightlife Convention and Awards 2018 Concludes 3rd Edition

India Nightlife Convention And Awards Moves To Delhi For Third Edition

INCA 2017 Celebrates Nightlife with Mayors and Czars from across the Globe

Kickstart Entertainment and NRAI Announce India Nightlife Convention and Awards (INCA)

The annual convention and award ceremony, INCA is back with its 4th Edition in Mumbai held from the September 17th-19th 2019.

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