Adding a little bit of outdoors to your routine, one Windmill Festival at a time
The earliest memories of my childhood, range from traipsing around in the Kenyan wild to prancing in the Chalbi dessert, to gaping at the magical sunsets fall on the vasteness of Masai Mara, are all experiences that made my childhood my most enriching life story. Growing up in Eastern Africa, a melting pot of cultures, customs and expatriates, gave me a taste of so many different worlds and distinct experiences within the same country. My playgrounds ranged from the savannahs to the white powdery sand beaches. The markets in Kapsoya town and the football grounds were our natural hang outs. I accompanied my father as he meet tribal chieftains to trade their sheep wool for his organization. Where I am today, has a lot to do with where I began. My childhood would have been incomplete without the outdoors, the wildlife and the community interactions and has played an enormous role in shaping me as a person.
Over the past decade and half, I have worked with some of the biggest brands and production crews in the world to create live formats in sport, music and lifestyle, globally. While over the years, I’ve seen the Indian event producer evolve and create concepts unheard of elsewhere in the world, with a level of production that matches his/her international counterparts, what we have somehow missed out on, that is almost a part of a lot of global cultures, is a set-up where urban families get to spend time with each other and make memories in the outdoors.
As I dived deep into this concept, alarming facts such as how an average urban Indian child spends around 35 out of 52 weekends indoors or in shopping malls, whereas his/her international counterpart, spends around 3.5 hours every day playing outdoors started to surface. Having attended international children’s festivals like the Easter Bunny Festival, that takes place in Sydney and having spoken to multiple festival producers and curators from around the world, I realised that, both, the global parent and festival curator, are serious about a child’s entertainment options. As a parent and a festival curator myself, I realised that here we just do not take our little one’s recreation as seriously as we take his/her academics. And from there, came the concept of the Windmill Festival.
We created a unique property where we gave the urban child an outlet to be creative, gain information and get a recreational experience along with an avenue to spend quality time with family and friends in an outdoor setting. To ensure that every child that attended the festival went back with something substantial, we divided the festival curation to suit 3 age brackets – 0-3, 4-7 and 8-14 years. We carefully curated over 50 art, music, sport and science workshops, conducted by experts and brought in brands like Cadbury, Tinkle, Kidzania, Asian Paints, Avon Cycles, Furtados and The Learning Curve, to name a few, to co-curate festival experiences for us. A key feature of our festival was the much loved, festival petting zoo, where children and adults alike, got an opportunity to pet, play with and learn about farm animals. The sheer number of children running and cycling around the festival ground, as their parents settled on the lawn, chatting with one another, has been unlike anything I’ve seen in cities here. Two seasons and over 15,000 happy families later, I can certainly say, that our cities are starved for experiences like this.
The Windmill Festival is a humble step towards changing the way urban Indian families unwind. It is an attempt to create a culture of adventure, a culture where we encourage our children to step out of their comfort zone and screens because that’s where a childhood becomes a lifetime story.