Making The Most of Kala Ghoda Arts Fest’14

It’s Kala Ghoda time of the year and I think it’s a good idea to share some simple tips and suggestions to help the first time visitors here.

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is a 9 day festival that celebrates art in its various forms – dance, theatre, literature, music and more. KGAF is the second largest arts festival in the world after Edinburgh Arts Festival. The fest this year starts from Feb 1st (Saturday) till Feb 9th (Sunday).

Kala Ghoda Arts Fest'14

Kala Ghoda Arts Fest (Pic via

I have attended KGAF every year since the year it was launched (1999) and watched it grow from a small ‘town’ affair to the proportions of Kumbh Mela. The crowd at KGAF (weekends especially) is so shockingly large that it’s almost terrifying. You may be a couple madly in love when you go in (like this couple seen at KGAF ’13), but don’t be surprised if you come out holding each other’s neck.

Kala Ghoda Art Fest

Cos holding hands is too mainstream.

After years of trying different permutations and combinations, here are a few simple tips that may help you make the most of this event.

  • Carry:
    • The lightest bag you own which has a proper zip or flap… basically a pickpocket proof bag.
    • Water, sunglasses and wallet. That’s it… do not carry anything more if you love your shoulders and back.
    • The wallet must have cash in it. LOT of cash. Most of the stalls at the fest do not accept cards.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and light cotton clothes. If you have been thinking of channeling your eccentric side, this is THE place.
  • Reach the venue at the most awkward time of the day.. like 1 in the afternoon to avoid the rush.
  • Go alone. Or if you do have company, decide a time and place where you guys will meet later. KGAF on a weekend isn’t a place where you can go happy, girl group shopping. So it’s BEST to go alone. 
  • There are two entrances to the venue. One from the Lion Gate side and the other from Westside side. I have always preferred the latter.
  • Stalls that are least crowded are usually the best. They are also generally the more expensive ones… but the stuff you find in these stalls is unique, classy and something that you wont come across at Colaba Causeway.
  • Your energy is going to drain out sooner than you think (thanks to the sun, crowd and humidity)… so be efficient. Make quick decisions. Don’t stop to ponder. Don’t feel neglected by the stall owners. (Explanation for this is my next bullet)
  • Spare a thought for the people behind the stalls. They have been dealing with crowd and heat for the entire day. Try and talk to them as little as possible as they may sound rude or seem disinterested. This is not because they do not want you to buy from their stall… it’s just that they are tired. And also that 90% people who come to their stalls are just about ‘how much.. how much.. how much…‘ only 5% actually buy.. the remaining 5% are trolls taking pictures / stealing etc.
  • If you see a large crowd gathered in a circle… not moving.. just looking at the ground and taking pictures, it’s not because someone has fainted. It’s the art lovers appreciating the art installations.. Some really cool stuff out there indeed. Stay camera ready.
  • Lastly, if you reach the venue by 1, you are done looking around the fair just in time for evening performances at the central atrium. Climb the steps and sit down to enjoy a good show… from Flamenco to Bharatnatyam to Fusion…. the stage performances at KGAF are NOT  to be missed.
Crowd at KGAF '13

Crowd at KGAF ’13

Refer to the below mentioned links for more information on KGAF 2013.

About KGAF ’13

Map for directions.

KGAF last year – Watch the video.

Follow KGAF on Twitter for quick updates on workshops, activities, stage performances etc.

KGAF Opening weekend picks: Mumbai Boss


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