Chaotic start to India's first Red Bull Flugtag

Red Bull Flugtag, Bangalore, India (photo - Jim Ankan Deka)
Red Bull Flugtag, Bangalore, India (photo - Jim Ankan Deka)

Not many in India have heard about Red Bull, let alone the famous Flugtag event. So, the event got king-size media attention when Red Bull first announced about it which was to be held in Bangalore.

I was invited to the event by one of the organizers of the India's First Red Bull Flugtag. It was held at Sankey Tank, Bangalore - one of the last surviving lakes of Bangalore. I was little surprised with the decision of the Bangalore govt for giving permission for such an event to be conducted at a place like this. Anyway, curiosity took over and I with two of my colleagues from Music Malt thought of visiting the place and covering the event for International Press Association.

It was total chaos! Although the crowd was doing fine, the chaos was seen among the crew members, bouncers and managers (seemed to be) mainly. As we went past the people and got near the entrance, there were few bouncers and guards who had little clue about media access and actual entrance. People were shouting, guards were shouting and no one was moving. Ultimately after about 10 mins after showing our IDs and invitations, we were allowed to enter.

We went to the media desk for registration. There were two people with blank expressions. But they were showing as if the world was at its end. They had no or very little clue about the event, media or registration. Wherever we went there were bouncers; as if it was a war zone. People were doing pretty fine according to me. They were calm. But the bouncers, crew members and people with Flugtag logo caps were running from one side to the other. Although it was a free event, we were stopped by every bouncer and crew member and checked our passes and IDs as if it was some FBI hosted event.

After pushing and forcing, we could reach the actual media platform. I started taking photos of the event as my colleagues started with taking notes and video capturing. Hardly ten minutes passed when a college going girl (volunteer) came near my colleagues and asked them to show IDs and invitation. We had already shown those to more than five people (guards, bouncers, crew members) in four gates. Didn't understand the concept.

All three of us were little agitated and decided to leave the venue. But could not find the exit. Ended up asking three different 'very busy' guards and at the end got near the exit gate. There were 6 people in the gate barricading the crowd from entering. We again had to push through them to go out. The smart alecs had kept the entry and exit at the same gate. As soon as we got close to the gate, bouncers and a 'busy person' claiming to be one of the organizers literally shoved us out while screaming 'Go Out'.By that time all three of us (including my female colleague who was shoved out) had it. We could not resist but stood our ground and shouted back.

Actually, all this time I could hardly see any actual management person from Red Bull. But the acts by these 'busy buddies' who thought they were actually guarding a queen's castle were quite amusing to see.

This is the first event of this kind by Red Bull in India. So I can assume that there will definitely be a state of confusion and disorder. But losing the respect for people - I can't agree with Red Bull. There was enough room inside. But more than 1000 people had to watch the event from the road because they were not allowed inside despite having invitations. Bangalore is known to be one of the most peaceful places in India with cultured people. Red Bull should have known that.

I believe that in the coming days, event organizers will actually first survey the place before making plans. Also, I would suggest BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) to avoid giving permissions for conducting events in places like Sankey Tank, which is in violation of the high court orders following the Justice Patil Report. It disturbs a lake's eco-system.

Nonetheless, apart from the chaotic experience, we enjoyed the little time we had spent at the venue where team of 4 or 5 attempted to fly home-made human-powered flying machines which were launched off a pier about 30 feet high into the lake. The flying machines hardly flew and crashed, but enthusiasm of the teams was contagious.

As for Red Bull Flugtag, my humble advice to them would be to hire a different event organizer in the 2nd edition, because the first edition has definitely crash landed.
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  1. The event planning team definitely deserve applause for the nice selection of bread and the service which was good from start to finish. The mass produced filet was too good.