An Exclusive Interview with Roshan Abbas Sharing About Spoken Fest 2020, Future Initiatives & More!

Entertainment | January 7, 2020 | Interview

Kommune Spoken Fest Jio World Garden, BKC, Mumbai

After two successful editions, Spoken Fest is back with its latest edition in Mumbai. The Festival is a stage for some of the most vibrant voices, poets, storytellers, thespians, lyricists, comedians, and musicians to move you, make your heart sink and brim with joy at the same time. Over the course of two days, Spoken shines a spotlight on artists from across the country, serving up an eclectic mix of exciting performances in languages as varied as Urdu, Hindi, and English. The festival also comprises multiple stages, interactive workshops, and engaging masterclasses and will be held on January 11th and 12th, 2020 at Jio World Garden, BKC, Mumbai.

In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS, Roshan Abbas, Co-Founder, Kommune & Spoken Fest, and Festival Director gives an insight on the upcoming Spoken Fest 2020, exciting line-up, future plans and more!

After two successful editions, Spoken Fest - an initiative of Kommune is coming back to Mumbai, can you share insights on how the idea was conceived and what has been the response to the initiative?

The idea behind Spoken Fest was to build a festival which is a festival of Spoken word: words celebrated through storytelling, music, poetry, and comedy. In 2017, we saw a subculture emerge. Through Kommune, we'd organized many smaller events, where we'd combined storytelling and poetry with music, our YT and FB has crossed a lakh each. I used to often see festivals across the world especially Edinburgh Fringe and shows at Embankment and a Hyde Park. Spoken Fest was a culmination of all those things. We wanted to put up a flagship festival where we celebrated this culture. An oasis where you could dive deep into the world of words and stories.

In your opinion, where does a creative fest like Spoken stand in the overall LIVE entertainment market in India as the audience have a wide range of options to choose from?

What makes Spoken Fest unique is that it is the only festival which asks you to tune in, not tune out. At both editions of Spoken Fest in Mumbai, and even the one in Delhi, we've seen our audience emotionally and intellectually engage with the performances on stage, and it creates a lovely atmosphere, where ten thousand people are tuning in to the same collective emotion together. Our quality of experience and content is I believe very unique and curated. And at a price point that is very affordable.

What is the artist line-up fans can expect from the festival this year?

You'll hear music by The Local Train and Peter Cat Recording Co.; stories by Mithila Palkar, Rohan Joshi, Faye D'Souza and Harsha Bhogle; and poetry by the likes of Rudy Francisco, Varun Grover, and Hussain Haidry. But what we've noticed every year is that while people come into the festival for the names they recognize, they leave talking about artists and performers they didn't know about beforehand. So along with these well-known names, fans can expect to discover some truly amazing artists.

What is the business model Spoken Fest works on? Is it sponsorship based or ticket-sales based? How do you see the fest as an integral and important model in the evolution of entertainment IPs of India? 

It's a combination of both. In India, unfortunately, it's 70% sponsorship and 30% ticket sales. I’m thrilled that premium brands find a home at Kommune be they Spotify, Netflix, Bumble, Cred, Harley, Stranger, and sons, etc.  without sponsors in India festivals can’t run. We hope to tilt that scale towards ticket sales by developing an audience that is willing to pay for the arts and support their community.

Tell us about your experience. How do you think the live event industry has shaped up through the years?

I see people run after the obvious. Too many film awards, too much music and then the rest is taken up by sport. If not done right, the investment can be shortlived. It’s so important to engage with your audience and to Know them. Live must marry smart digital else it’s a shot in the dark.

What other future initiatives are planned through Kommune?

We are hoping to bring Kommune and Spoken Fest to more cities, and apart from that, we aim to continue to discover the best art and artists from across the country and showcase them before large audiences. We're also looking to be actively involved with the artist to nurture and hone their art. Our biggest initiative in 2020 is authentic content from the voices of tomorrow.

Here's a glimpse of Spoken Fest 2019 - 

In an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS, Roshan Abbas, Co-Founder, Kommune & Spoken Fest, and Festival Director gives an insight on the upcoming Spoken Fest, exciting lineup, future plans and more

Photo Gallery

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