With the city still recovering from the phenomenal carnival-like elrow-Mumbai bash, the Sherp gets front and centre with BookMyShow’s Kunal Khambhati, on the debut of elrow in India.

Hailed as one of the world’s wildest parties, elrow has come a long way since its inception in 2010 to mark itself as a one of a kind festival, that finds itself on most people’s bucket-lists. Its revelries have been shared far and wide, in 84 cities with over 250 events, with the most recent of them being in Mumbai, where 1000s of eager revellers were found having a blast.

For its first party in Mumbai, elrow picked a vibrant and exotic Brazilian theme, Sambowdromo do Brasil. As expected, the production at elrow did not disappoint.  The trippy and colourful decor combined and a staggering array of lights and lasers made the stage look stunning.  In addition to that, there were boatloads of confetti explosions, inflatable wild animals, and dozens of costumed dancers on stilts. All of that combined with pulsating electronic music was the perfect recipe to overload the senses.

elrow constructed a massive air-conditioned hangar in the heart of Mumbai’s bustling corporate hub, BKC.  The venue was just the right size and never felt too congested or too empty. From the ticket pick-up to the bar,  there were no long lines noticed. BookMyShow and elrow’s attention to detail and overall planning was impeccable. For instance, there was free water and air-conditioned vanity-van toilets which were far better than the plastic portable toilets one would find at most festivals. It was the emphasis on smaller details like this that helped enhance the overall experience at elrow.

In terms of the music, tech house was the dominant genre of the day. Veteran German DJ, Sidney Charles and  Barcelona’s George Privatti played upbeat sets in the evening, with elrow’s resident DJ, Tony Varga, closing the party with a bang. There were some unfortunate periods of time where the volume dropped to a level that was unacceptably low for a massive party. Other than that, the cheerful crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy every moment on the dance-floor.

The event was brought to India for its debut by BookMyShow, and made possible by their Head- Live Events & IP, Kunal Khambhati, and team. Here’s what he had to say, when we caught up with him ahead of the  show. 

Kunal Khambhati | Head – Live Events & IP, BookMyShow

1. With just a few days to go for the first ever edition of elrow in India, what are the preparations like? How excited are you to be able to launch the festival in India? (questioned pre-event)

We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing a new league of live entertainment to the country with elrow! This is the first time that India is set to experience a world-class house and techno music and dance festival at scale and we are absolutely kicked to set the stage for elrow’s India debut. To make sure the India experience is unforgettable, we started our preparations 5 months ago. Zeroing down on the city and finding the right venue for such a grand party were the key factors to begin with, for us. Topping the venue with adequate and top-notch structures to ensure a grand time for our patrons, creating an atmosphere for a carnival-esque experience with the theme of Samba, ensuring a fantastic food & beverage experience for party goers and innovative, effective on-ground solutions have been key in our preparations for elrow’s first India party.  

2. elrow is unlike most festival experiences in the world, and certainly not something India has seen before. What was the thought & idea for BMS to bring them down this year?

At BookMyShow, we are constantly looking for marquee, highly acclaimed live entertainment experiences that can be showcased to Indian audiences. We identified a gap in the experience-led ecosystem where evolved international properties for dance and music enthusiasts were far and few in between. We couldn’t think of a better way to fill that gap than elrow – a legacy experience in itself! An out-of-home entertainment offering which is not solely dependent on artists, but punches above its weight through the immersive experience it offers, elrow is a collaboration that we at BookMyShow are extremely excited about and we hope to wow our customers with its India debut.

3. Were there many challenges that you faced logistically or otherwise in bringing down a massive production like elrow to India?

The greatest challenge was living up to the global benchmark elrow has set in terms of the grungy warehouse experience & a crazy party vibe. It was difficult to find an existing venue that could seamlessly fit in the elrow experience and make it truly come alive. Hence we decided to up the production a notch by creating our own dedicated air conditioned hangar from scratch. Everything that elrow is famous for- the classic confetti, stiltwalkers, inflatables & dancers– you will find them all here in India in their authentic flavour.

4. Who are the artists playing at elrow & can you tell us a bit more about the lineup?

The artist line-up has the best of both- India and the world with globally loved DJs like Sidney Charles whose works have graced the bastions of house and techno music, Marc Maya, Toni Varga and George Privatti performing along with popular Indian DJs the likes of Blurry Slur, Anish Sood and Ana Lilia.

5. FUN FACT: How much confetti was used at this show?

We used 700 kgs of confetti for elrow’s India debut alone!! Mind you, confetti of this quantum is usually used across 5 gigs. 

6. First Ed Sheeran, now elrow – is this a sign that BMS is looking to break barriers and create a new space for live music & entertainment in India?

BookMyShow has evolved from being India’s leading entertainment ticketing platform to a full-stack player for all entertainment needs in India. For millions of customers looking for the best out-of-home entertainment experience, be it across a movie, play, sports or any other live event- it should be available on BookMyShow. Our horizon at the company, is constantly expanding both internationally and within India – be it Ed Sheeran, Disney’s Aladdin, Mughal-e-Azam, the mega Cirque Du Soleil BAZZAR’s world premiere or elrow and much more. We want to offer several millions of our patrons the most globally loved experiences in their home country executed to perfection akin global standards that they have come to expect. This is what we are constantly striving towards at BookMyShow.

7. What can we expect in the near future from elrow + BookMyShow?

The first step in the partnership between elrow and BookMyShow has yielded fantastic results in Mumbai. This marks the start of elrow’s long-term India plans with us, taking the spirit of elrow across the breadth of the country to newer cities. These new cities will be treated to new global themes from the elrow portfolio.

8. Overall, what are your thoughts on the execution of the debut edition of elrow in India? Are you happy with the response you’ve received from the crowds?

The audience response to the elrow- Sambowdromo do Brasil experience and its top notch production has been phenomenal and overwhelming. For an event that the city has never experienced earlier, we at BookMyShow, were thrilled  with the perfect crowd and brand partner profile that elrow garnered here! We strongly believe in the vast potential that elrow holds, for the coming editions.

With its top notch production and careful attention to detail, elrow’s first party in India was wild and unforgettable. Now that Mumbai has got its first taste of an elrow party, we are hoping that there will be plenty more. Like they say, there’s no party like an elrow party!