On 3 August, Nepal’s prominent folk rock band Nepathya gave its first performance at the Wembley Stadium in London. The band and the organizers witnessed a turnover of almost 8,000 individuals at the venue. World-renowned rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Guns n’ Roses, The Who, Dire Straits and U2 have already performed at the Stadium’s hall which has been a musical venue since August 1972.
Read on to know the inside story of the tour...
Kiran Krishna Shrestha
Team leader, Nepa-laya
“During a presentation that I made at a meeting that was held amongst the Nepalis who were living in the United Kingdom in 2003, I coined the idea of Nepathya’s performance at Wembley’s music hall. It really did take some time for all of us to arrange for the concert. Finally with the official support of Sub-sonic Roots and Parcha productions (UK based companies run by Nepalis), we managed to organize Nepathya’s successful tour to Wembley this year.
Though it was the first time that so many people came to one of our events, we had no idea of how many of them would turn out. The restrictions were strict. Tickets had to be booked online and people could only buy those that were printed by the stadium’s print house with added taxations. Also, we had to be very punctual to the timings of the hall.”
(Nepa-laya has been officially managing Nepathya’s concerts, tours and music production for the past 12 years. Since then, the company has organized more than 40 events with Nepathya abroad and more than 60 solo concerts of the band in Nepal.)
Tour timeline according to
Vocalist, Frontman: Nepathya
We gathered at 6:30am and went to the airport. Some youngsters gave us their thumbs up on our way to the airplane. On board, I selected a window’s seat. When we were up in the sky I was content with the view of Manaslu hill, Larke pass, Annapurna and all the Himalayas like always. Eventually, the clouds gave their way for a view of the sea and the dry lands. Some hours later, we had a transit at Doha for 5 hours. Some Nepali individuals working there recognized us. One of them happily treated us with a huge pot of coffee! Finally, we reached London in the evening. It was filled with lights and enthusiastic people who had come to welcome us. The organizers gave us flowers that I later kept in my hotel room by cutting a coke bottle to act like a vase, as there were none!
We went to see the stadium’s music hall. I had seen it before but not from the inside. I was thrilled to see the handprints of famed singers and artists such as Madonna, Bryan Adams, Status Quo and many others near the entrance. A schedule of performances for the next 2-3 months at the hall was already on display. Inside, the hall’s acoustics was very unique. A friend could clearly hear my voice from the opposite corner without the use of a microphone! We then took some photographs and returned to our hotel.
On this day, the stage was set up at the hall. We got to spend a lot of time at the venue and it took us the whole day for everything to be in place. It was sometimes a bit difficult to cope up with the in-house sound engineers of the hall who were at times reluctant to adjust the mixing console. Maybe it was because it was the first time we were working with them and they were also new to the type of music that we perform.
We did a sound check in the afternoon. In the evening, the concert started. When we came onstage, I had a feeling of a stage fright like I always do. But when the extraordinary lights went up in space with the music at the same time, the crowd’s roar was more than enough to keep us entertaining them with excitement!
Amazingly, the audience sang all of our songs from the nine albums with the same volume level! Eventually, I had to sing in a loud voice, (ended up with a sore throat!), as we could not hear the monitors onstage properly! Hence everything depended upon our practice at this moment. It was a thrilling experience altogether. I guess the audience rightfully became the artists themselves on this day and forgave us for all our mistakes with a good feeling.
When the lights went on at the audience’s faces, I saw our ex-drummer Suresh who used to play in Nepathya almost 12 years ago. I waved my hand at him but the audience thought otherwise and waved theirs towards me! The show was supposed to end at 10:00 pm. But a huge uproar of ‘once more’ made us sing for another half an hour or so. Hence we played a total number of 21 songs and the audience kept enjoying without any sign of dissatisfaction and violence. They were quite supportive when I requested them to fast for at least once a month and use that cash that they would otherwise spend on that day to educate a child in a rural area of Nepal.
When the show ended, a lot of fans wanted to meet us but the security did not allow them. We later found out that even elderly Nepalis of age 80-84 came to see us perform live! Neither them nor us could believe how time passed so quickly on this day. The organizers were very exited in the end and the support from the Nepali fans was truly unforgettable. It was really astounding to see the 8,000 Nepalis filling up the surrounding restaurants when we passed them by after the concert on our way to the hotel. For a moment, it felt as if we were in a town inside Nepal itself!