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From the scene, to the scene: Control Alt Delete - India’s oldest crowdfunded music festival is back!

*Control Alt Delete 13 is happening January 13th & 14th at Roaring Farms, Mumbai!

What makes Indie? Is it just the word of your resident cool kids on the block? Or is it really the result of a community coming together and making something happen? I think the best answer to this question comes in the form of the efforts that events like Control Alt Delete make. Being India’s first, oldest, and biggest crowdfunded music project, the organizers of CAD have turned it into a safe haven for people who want to be part of that scene, without the looming fear of being excluded. We’ve all been there - not being let into a venue based on how you look, or dress, whether or not you can afford the (often exorbitant) entry charge, or even how the club bouncer may feel that day (it happens more than you know). 

For 14 years now, CAD has been bringing us the best of the best in the indie scene. It was all those years ago that a small bunch of friends came together and put together India’s first DIY crowdfunded music project. The idea was always to democratize the scene and open the floor up to anyone who wanted to participate in celebrating exactly what Indie is all about. Inclusivity, transparency and equality are the core values that one still sees instilled in the festival consistently. How these values come into play is consciously displayed in the communication they have with their audience and fans - from releasing accounts of every crowdfunded event they’ve done to keeping the amount of money raised and by whom public. 

Over the years, Control Alt delete has hosted over 180 bands to play on their stages, providing them with a platform to reach new audiences and, of course, vice-versa. While telling me about how CAD started, Nikhil mentioned how the festival began way before social media was big - which made marketing the event a whole different ball game compared to what it may be now. You remember this, right? It was always somehow a friend of a friend who would string you into cool gigs and events around town, and it just… worked? Perhaps that also adds to the experience that CAD brought to people. An organic, equal and transparent gig happening in town with your favourite artists playing, or giving you an opportunity to explore new music (pre-spotify was a hell of a trip, no?).

What sets CAD apart from all other mainstream festivals in the country is their unique approach to their ticketing model. A “Pay what you want” system challenges the general practice one would expect when going to a music festival. Of course, this ought to bring some significant struggles with this model. The organizers at CAD understood that a model like this is still somewhat unusual, and that people are always going to be skeptical of where their money would go and how this pay-what-you-want process even works. Despite this, Control Alt Delete is a festival that breaks through these struggles and balances out the P&L perfectly. What keeps the bond of festival : indie is exactly this. 

In an attempt to democratize the scene that we all know and love, Control Alt Delete does a stellar job. It truly shows us that we need to take pride in the culture that we help build by supporting events and organizations that stand as a platform celebrating it. I do hope you take some time out and contribute to the funding of CAD 13 (Jan 13th and 14th!), and go see all that it has to offer. From artists like Excise Dept., Naezy, The F16s, Tidals, and so many more, CAD brings to you a show you don’t want to miss out on. 

While we prepare ourselves to witness CAD 13 in all its glory, we’d like to express our appreciation for the opportunity to sit down with Nikhil Udupa, who, along with Himanshu Vaswani, work on bringing us a great show each time.



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