After hosting editions in global electronic music hubs such as Barcelona, Tel Aviv , Madrid , Amsterdam and Sao Paolo, DGTL , one of the worlds coveted music brands that merges music, unique art installations , revolutionary sustainability projects, made its much hyped India debut in Bengaluru on Jan 11,12 2020 at the Lalit Ashok Hotel. During the two days, over 30 artists transformed the venue into an impressive warehouse-style industrial party and saw over 7500 people soak in art installations and sustainability initiatives, apart from some world-class techno and electronic soundscapes.
“Whenever we choose a new city to go to, it is important that we find a strong local team, that understands and values our concept and wants to bring it to life in their country. We also need to find a perfect location that fits all our needs, and of course, there needs to be a very enthusiastic audience. Bengaluru had all the ingredients to be the perfect new home for DGTL”, said Gerke de Groot [Director, DGTL].
The festival hosted the following stages
1) BUDX Mixmag Lab
2) Modular Stage:
3) Generator Stage:
4) Gain Stage
Along with sustainability initiatives such as Butt Ballot, Skrap , Cupable and art installations by Lola Saville, an Irish/English multi-disciplinary artist who works in a large variety of media including sculpture, textiles and fashion, collage, painting, and video. Often her work is presented through video containing all the elements of her work, from clothing and textile to sculpture and installations, sometimes even music.
There was also a Budweiser Brew District where entire zone was one of the standout features of the festival. Budweiser converted the garden area into a complete chill zone for attendees, replete with a Bud bar, some photo-worthy swings and seating, an interactive headphone installation, and a photo booth.
In lieu with its sustainability concepts, all year round, DGTL searches for the latest technological breakthroughs and innovations to close material loops, eliminate CO2 emissions, and increase environmental awareness. Notably, DGTL is making a sustainable impact on the global festival landscape, and last year it received the International Greener Festival Award for the work it has done thus far.
THE FESTIVAL AS IT HAPPENED
At first, I was definitely skeptical about the venue Lalit Ashok Hotel and being the fact that its located right next to the Chief Ministers’ house. However, DGTL did pull it off quite well I’d say and did manage to run the show for 2 days. The second day the venue was so tightly packed that it was a task to go from one stage to another. Also at around 11 O'clock the authorities asked the organizers to shut the festival and managed to shut all but one stage. However that didn’t dampen the spirit of the crowd as they rammed into one of the stages, where Dax J was blasting away his signature hard-hitting techno.
Amongst the 4 stages in total. “Modular” hands down being the best of the lot for firstly, being an open-air stage with an enormous amount of space for people to Dance in the front of the stage or sit by the beautifully curated Budweiser Brew district adjacent to the stage. The sound and visual experience was really top notch at this stage although it did have a few glitches with the sound crackling towards the later part of the first day but was all taken care of on day 2.
“Generator” and “Gain” were both actually set up inside the 2 Banquet halls of Lalit Ashok. Both being right opposite each other with just about a 10 Feet road separating them. After Modular was shut both the days at 9:30pm, the entire crowd was gathered in and around these 2 stages. With very limited space to move around and a huge number of people gathering in between the 2 stages almost throughout the evening either to get some Air, or have a drink and smoke a cigarette or to load their digital cards or even to grab a bite from the food court which surprisingly also existed within the same space, made it quite hard for everybody to go about their tasks. It was difficult to move around from one stage to the other.
'Generator' was quite a large hall which could easily hold upto 3k people. It did hold quite good production value in terms of sound and light. This stage was raw and impactful and hosted the most talked about and awaited acts of the festival - Sven Vath, Anetha, Pan-Pot, and Dax J. Very few things come close to the energy of this stage that closed the festival on a high note. The lighting setup in the entire room was never-before-seen in India. This marked a definite benchmark with respect to how massive room stages are conceived in the country. With most of the heavier techno artists being listed to play on the Generator stage without a doubt Generator was fully packed on both the days.
Comparatively, Gain although also did have a lot of good artists lined up to play on both the days and being some of the very well renowned names from the Indian music circuit, the stage, the sound and the set up wasn’t quite upto the mark compared to the others. The hall could hold upto only about 1k-1.5k people. With names like, Arjun Vagale, Blot and Kohra being on the list of artists playing on this stage and with their huge fan base following one would expect it to be definitely better than what was presented to their fans.
Kohra at DGTL Bangalore 2020
BUTT BALLOT: Cigarette filters are made up of plastic fibers which render them non-biodegradable. They are the number one contaminant of our oceans and the most littered item on the planet. Butt Ballots are an interactive, fun solution that gamifies the process of stubbing and gets the smoker to VOTE with his cigarette instead of flicking it away. The polls can be made interesting by providing customized poll questions, gathering opinions and creating talking points, etc. while simultaneously creating awareness and inculcating conditioning of stubbing responsibly in the smoker. Butt Ballots were installed at the smoking sections across the festival and the waste collected will be recycled.
SKRAP: To promote zero waste, DGTL Bengaluru has partnered with Skrap, a waste management solutions company. The waste generated at the festival will be analysed and a management plan will be customised and implemented accordingly. This includes waste segregation at the event and a sustainable disposal system that involves recycling and composting.
CUPABLE: A company that creates reusable systems for the circular economy. DGTL Bengaluru had cups that are made from rice husks and are 100% recyclable and reusable. There was no usage of paper cups at the festival, therefore minimising wastage and encouraging a responsible and sustainable way to consume drinks at festivals.
VEGETARIAN FOOD: DGTL discourages meat consumption and the pledge continued at DGTL Bengaluru too, by serving only vegetarian food at the festival.
From industrial to modular to recycled, art projects at DGTL are an integral part of the overall concept and festival identity. Lola Saville is an Irish/English multi-disciplinary artist who works in a large variety of media including sculpture, textiles and fashion, collage, painting, and video. Often her work is presented through video containing all the elements of her work, from clothing and textile to sculpture and installations, sometimes even music.
Concept: Reality, illusion, perfection, imperfection: People were encouraged to push through the hanging columns, reflect in them and see themselves from all angles, even the distorted and broken ones.
Hanging garden of mirror mobiles: Rectangular columns were suspended at different heights. Alternative sides of the rectangle columns have a broken or distorted mirror effect. This was lit up at night to give the appearance of a distorted disco ball.
Concept: An interactive piece encouraging people to think about what happens to the waste we accumulate when we throw things away and where it goes, at the same time also creating something fun, engaging and beautiful.
To build a large-scale kaleidoscope, with the visuals reflected made from trash materials (technological waste, old circuit boards, etc). Kaleidoscopes are constructed simply from a triangle tunnel of mirrors, encased inside a tube, with a petri dish of broken objects floating in a liquid, attached to the end of the tube. This tube/tunnel rotated with a handle being turned manually and interactively.
Budweiser Brew District: This entire zone was one of the standout features of the festival. Budweiser converted the garden area into a complete chill zone for attendees, replete with a Bud bar, some photo-worthy swings and seating, an interactive headphone installation, and a photo booth. The llarge Headphones made out of Budweiser beer cans which had music playing was defiinitely a stand out
Approximately 8k people would have visited DGTL Bengaluru edition over the course of 2 days. People knew their artists, knew their music very well and were storming from one stage to another right on time making sure not to miss out grooving to their favorite artist. The crowd was nothing less compared to what one would expect to see in ADE or a Dekmantel for that matter. Bengaluru did party on Jan 11th and 12th and partied real hard. This will be the talk of the town for several days to come.
DGTL Bengaluru is here to stay