Two friends, Rishavh and Vinayak, with similar music tastes set out on a journey to introduce new sounds to the Nepali crowd and hell bent on changing the underground music scene in Nepal.
Rishavh Shrestha aka Enhancify is the founder of Kathmandu based event management company ‘Spektrum’ and a DJ. What started out as a simple journey of promoting electronic music in Kathmandu, has now turned into a trans regional affair. This pursuit has led him to explore and implement a variety of styles and genres both as a promoter and a DJ. As a DJ, Enhancify is sure-footed with his selections guiding his audience every step of the way.
Vinayak Tamang popular as Dipsoman is a DJ and the founder of an event management company called ‘Surge Entertainment’. Initially he had no plans to become a DJ. But realizing, the kind of music he liked was absent in the Nepali scene, he took upon himself to introduce different sounds to Nepali audiences. He is a self-taught DJ who then established his own company. He has been regularly doing parties and events to promote new artists and new sounds.
Rishavh and Vinayak met in 2017. They bonded over their taste of music. They started working together and organizing events to promote new sounds. As they worked they realized there’s ample room for development in this scene. Through their companies - Spektrum and Surge, they are the organizers of the popular Grasslands Festival. The first Grasslands happened in Chitwan in 2020 with a few hundred people. They recently completed the second edition in 2021 in Kathmandu with almost two thousand revelers in two days. Through this festival their plan is to promote electronic music and all the independent artists. Their future plan is to do it twice a year, once in Kathmandu with a large crowd and another outside the valley for a smaller niche crowd.
How did you decide to get into organizing events?
Rishavh : I was always involved in events, helping friends, and volunteering. I never thought I could organize one. I always felt that I didn't have enough connection and networking. I used to visit India for events and the experience there really encouraged me to do something here. So I started organizing events through Spektrum. My aim was to give a platform to artists and promote different sounds.
Vinayak : I lived in India for five years and I used to go to shows regularly. When I got back to Nepal I realized there was no scene for the kind of music I liked. I was never a DJ, but I desperately wanted to introduce the kind of music I liked in Nepal. So I learned how to DJ, opened my company - Surge Entertainments, the first type of music I wanted to explore and establish in Nepal was Disco and House music. Surge’s first show got delayed due to the pandemic. We persisted, did some online shows, and promoted music within our means.
How did you end up doing the Grasslands festival?
We were doing events in between lockdowns and surprisingly we were getting good responses. We also organized parties where we booked the whole resort and did shows for 40-50 people for 2 days. It was all music and chilling, it was almost like a small festival. So after the second lockdown we decided to do an outdoor event, for obvious reasons. Our plan was to do a small event, nothing too big. There were a lot of uncertainties, a lot of restrictions due to covid. We booked a venue in Chitwan for around a hundred people. We got one Indian act and the rest were local acts. It was all electronic music with a few cultural presentations.
What were the difficulties involved with organizing the event?
We were doing an event for 100 people. The response was great and almost 200 people turned up. Then there was a problem with managing the accommodation for the extra people. Logistic wise it was a nightmare. Since it was our first event, the team was small. We had to manage twelve artists. Doing it in Chitwan meant a lot of traveling was required. Even managing equipment was a challenge. But thankfully the event went smoothly and the audience enjoyed the music and had a great time.
How was the post event buzz?
The venue in Chitwan had poor reception and no internet. So as the event was happening there was nothing on social media, our sponsors were irked. But once people went back home and started putting things on social media, the buzz started to catch up. The pandemic had happened and people were in their homes wondering where the event had happened.
How did you come up with the name Grasslands?
It was very random. We were just looking for a name. The venue we chose in Chitwan was lush and green. So we decided to go with the name Grasslands. Since it was in harmony with our theme of going outdoors, we kept the name.
Who is involved in organizing the event?
The first Grasslands Festival happened in 2020 in Chitwan. It was organized in collaboration by Surge and Spektrum. Now we have a company called Deft events after the two of us teamed up with another friend Masuj Gurung, who has been in the hospitality industry for more than a decade now and KRUNK (Bombay based agency, promoter & record label). Now we organize grasslands from Deft events.