Ritesh Marwadi, founder of KTMLIVE Entertainment, along with Robin Gurung and Raban Rana from 61Live Pvt. Ltd., share their experience of bringing big-name artists to Nepal, from Steve Aoki to Marshmello, and the changing culture of night life among Nepalis.
The night life in Nepal is now rocking and improving steadily, with performances and concerts by big artists, something once considered a dream for most Nepali organizers and audiences. Ritesh Marwadi believes it’s the good relation and professionalism at the end of the day that matters when it comes to bringing in such artists to perform live in the country.
“When I came back from India there were no good parties, no big clubs at that point of time. It was just a fluke to do something new and organize a party. And, that’s how we started building, and one event turned into two, two to four, four to ten. It’s just started growing,” says Ritesh, when asked about his reason for joining the event organizing profession. He believes it’s the passion for the business which develops as one works on it.
It all started with Robin Gurung, founder of 61Live Pvt. Ltd., who was planning to bring Steve Aoki to Nepal, and was also looking for a team to work on the same. Ritesh, Robin, and Raban joined hands and did Steve together, and then to get on a roll, Robin with his team decided to approach Marshmello, as he’s one of the most sought after artists in town, and who connects well with the youth. “Every event we do, we disclose the next artist on the event day itself,” said Ritesh, hinting that they continuously plan to do bigger and better events.
But, the question is, “Is Nepal ready for such big events?” Ritesh shares that Nepal being a small market, people are not willing to buy tickets. He adds, “Conducting such events involves huge costs, and if somebody cannot pay for his own entertainment, it’s become really tough for them to understand that buying tickets is imperative.” Next, he also manifested the problem of apt venue for such big events. “If Déjà Vu weren’t there, events of such scale wouldn’t be possible,” he said. Similarly, government rules and security also become a great challenge for such events.
The whole culture of night life and entertainment, with the arrival of these big artists, is improving. Robin says, “In Steve Aoki, we hardly sold any tickets till the very last month. Compared to that, the situation is getting a lot better.” Before, people used to come out just on Fridays and Saturdays, or New Year’s, or any other occasion. However, now for the quality events, people are turning up, and the events are themselves becoming a culture. The organizers feel this as their major achievement so far. It’s also a boost to the economy, according to them. “There are like twelve people coming to Nepal all the way from Sikkim just to attend Marshmello. Also, four of my friends are coming from India,” said Ritesh. As per Robin Gurung, it also promotes tourism, because when these artists post something on social media, people look at them. The same happened when Steve Aoki came to Nepal and posted some pics on his way to Bouddha and similar stuff on his Instagram, which drew people’s attention.
The pictures of the audiences celebrating with their friends and clicking selfies with the artists are more of an achievement for these organizers, which they’ve never seen in Nepal. Robin and Ritesh have traveled to quite a few places, and they’ve seen people enjoying there, and they’re trying to give a start to the same culture in Nepal. “The show that Steve Aoki put up, I’d have spent 10,000 rupees to watch what he played on stage. It’s far different from what you hear on YouTube. It’s a like a lifetime experience,” says Ritesh.
“We’re selling tickets for 20-25USD, which is like buying a doughnut in U.S.A. Such tickets are usually sold for 80USD. In India, Justin Bieber’s ticket was sold for 20000-80000. With such low priced tickets, we’re trying to build a culture among Nepalis for such events, and it’s just a start. In fact, it’s more of a holiday package for them,” says Robin. Raban also shared that they want to change things in Nepal and focus on the international level, rather than just keeping Nepal limited to Bollywood.
“For one night, people are spending thousands of rupees just to listen to an artist, which has never happened before. If everything works as per plan, our target is to organize a big festival whereby we’ll bring four-five big artists, and involve audiences globally,” says Ritesh.