What I Took Away From Vh1 Supersonic

The term camaraderie took a whole new meaning over the last few days and 2015 has only just begun! In case you’ve been living in social media oblivion, there were a few instances that took the entire dance music community by storm. First, the troll-takedown by Pearl, which was highlighted and summarized by @pwnstar629 (Basith) here:

https://storify.com/PwnStar/when-trolls-get-schooled

Or when one half of B.L.O.T! (Gaurav Malaker) decided to pen down his not so pleasant experience at a rival (the Inceptor’s words) festival, which incidentally he played at:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/gaurav-malaker/the-politics-of-dance-and-other-short-stories/10152768211283025?pnref=story

So, all of this was something that led me to pen down what I took away from working at a festival: Vh1 Supersonic. It was a memorable experience and at the same time, something I will cherish for a very long time because it taught me more about myself, and the person I’m capable of being..

I realized that working at Vh1 Supersonic not just as part of the crew, but as a writer, I didn’t face a single hateful moment. Sure, there was drama, sure we had a few hiccoughs along the way (nobody’s perfect, right?) but in the end, it was the feeling of one big happy family. Never mind the sore and battered limbs, never mind the scorching heat, and never mind that we could have invariably screwed up – WE were told off, but never put down. We were encouraged to work harder, and show that we were capable of so much more than what we thought – but most importantly we looked out for each other.

I remember how nervous I was on Day 1, because of never having worked at something as large as this, that too under a man who is a pioneer of dance music in India and a household name: Nikhil Chinapa. Sure, we’re friends, and sure we can have a great laugh together, but for those 4 days – HE was the boss. And that’s when you realize, you do everything in your power to make sure that you prove yourself time and time again – no matter how much you feel you will crash and burn (I know I did, on day one when someone told me off really badly.. we don’t name names.), but you carry on.

As the days progressed I got a lot more confident – I believed that given a job at hand, I could do it – WITHOUT feeling like I’d disappoint. With the guidance of my favorite Sardar (Jaskaran Singh), Nikhil himself and of course the happiest DJ and all round good guy Tuhin Mehta, I learned a lot, and moreover, I was protected by these guys in a way that has touched my heart. They looked out for me – like they did for the entire crew – but I’m speaking purely from a personal experience. It doesn’t stop there.
Once the day’s festivities had ended, we reflected back on what HAD happened and I was glad that I was told where I could do better. Not every person will do that for you, but yes, these guys guided and nurtured me, almost. They have many others to look out for too, but it felt really heart-warming to see that they took the time out for ME.

Jaskaran kept reminding me throughout that I should learn to be more assertive – have a voice and tell people off when necessary, without being a pompous, obnoxious little prat. The most valuable piece of advice, however, that I’ve taken back to Bombay with me  was “Don’t let people walk over you, make sure you believe in what you’re doing and the rest will fall into place“. Both Nikhil and Jaskaran reminded me of this and I now apply this mantra in my daily life too, and it makes me realize how much more people listen to me and take what I have to say seriously.

As a writer, you are told to be as unbiased as possible, have an objective view and try (unless you’re going for the whole opinionated debate piece..) to be as ‘politically correct’ as possible. There were many, that said I was ‘wasting’ my time working with a publication like Euphoric, and I wouldn’t get the right kind of exposure, solely if I worked with them and covered Vh1 Supersonic. That didn’t deter me from still penning down my thoughts and write my pieces. I was hated upon, told I was speaking ‘crap’, and that why am I sucking up to Nikhil and Pearl, the rivals are the real deal etc. My Boss Man (yes, this was the term that was largely used for him too by everyone) Akshay Bhalla, stood by me, allowed me to write whatever I wanted and moreover constantly had my back. He knew I was having a few troubles speaking up but he never lost faith. 5 days with him was more than enough to make me realize, he’s not JUST my Boss Man, he’s someone that is a dear dear friend to me.

Speaking of friendship, I’ve made some new friends, strengthened some old ones and met some amazing people along the way. People I never thought would have such a huge impact in my life. This was one of the most important things I took away from the festival – people united together for a love of dance music. You never know the friends you make and the bonds you forge just by being together for a few days. The power of music and the power of the vibe created at Vh1 Supersonic. It was possibly the most touching, heartfelt and fuzzy (yes, fuzzy as in warm and fuzzy) aspect of the festival that you may not see anywhere else. The festival is for the people, it is a festival with heart, and as long as we have Nikhil as its backbone, it will continue to remain that way.

Thank you Vh1 Supersonic and everyone who stood by me and guided me, for creating some of the most beautiful memories that I will cherish forever. You can’t have it anywhere else, but this festival succeeded in creating just that.

Shilpa, Out.

Photo Credits: Ashish Parmar Photography

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