Food, and a fusion of fun and music

Zomaland witnessed a large number of people, especially in the evenings. Visitors loved the food, but were a little disappointed by the lack of activities

HANGING AROUND: The giant chair swing at the festival

Winters in Delhi have much to offer. There are markets for winter clothes everywhere, the fragrance of saptaparni accompanies you on long walks, and the days seem to pass gently without the screeching sun. Evenings, on the other hand, bring chilly winds and a wish to spend them at a quality place. In Zomaland, flagship event from foodtech company Zomato, this was evident as visitors flocked in large numbers as the evening approached. The afternoons were relatively calm and relaxed.

The food festival was held in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. As one entered the arena, it felt as if one had entered an amusement park. There was a giant ferris wheel, a chair swing, a big Christmas tree and an artificial ice cream cone situated at the heart of the place. People in the carnival were either busy eating their favourite food – from pizza to kebabs to waffles – or participating in a number of activities that kept them entertained.

There was a large crowd of visitors on the ‘We Are Dubai’ stage where visitors participated in different games about Dubai to win prizes, which included quizzes and dance contests.

Just beside the stage, makeup artists made glitter patterns on the faces of people, especially women, who wanted to carry a carnival-like look in the food festival.

Social media friendly platforms such as photo booths, selfie swings and Instagram layout frames were distributed all over the place. A couple with the sign “We Matched Right” in their hands were getting their photo clicked. The overall environment was couple-friendly, as evident by the number of first-dates present in the carnival.

“We came here for the first time and it is our first date. We have known each other just on phones and it feels special to be here to celebrate an evening together,” said a couple who had been in a virtual friendship for a few months.

However, these were not the only kind of visitors in the fair.

There were working professionals, families, college students, foreigners and older people. They all echoed the same sentiment when asked what brought them to the festival: the love of food.

This was also visible in the number of people at the food stalls as they waited for their orders to get ready. Zomato partnered with 400 restaurants and an array of artists to make the day enjoyable. Food stalls had their own marketing strategies, which offered free food after a contest which involved posting pictures on social media.

FOODIE DAY OUT: People sitting near the stalls with their food

In the span of two days, artists like Anubhav, Shreshth, Kashyap, ZZ, Wazir Patar, Emiway Bantai, Tech Panda X Kenzani, Rubber Band, Somanshu, Sapan Verma, Mitraz, The Yellow Diary and B Praak performed.

However, it was the Mann Bhariya singer B Praak that the audience was waiting for. As the evening approached on the second day, almost all the visitors gathered near the stage and waited for the singer.

“I am waiting for B Praak. He is my favourite singer. Many have come here for food but I have come here for B Praak,” said Ishita, a college student in Noida, who visited the event with her friends.

In its 2019 edition, Zomato organised a virtual event and successfully hosted 1,50,000 visitors, 300-plus restaurants, served 3.7 lakh dishes, and had stellar performances by stars like Badshah, Harrdy Sandhu, DIVINE, Ritviz, Tanmay Bhat, Kanan Gill, Abish Mathew, Rahul Subramanian, among others.

As the 2019 edition included more popular names, some visitors were disappointed by the lack of popular entertainers this time.

The festival has an attractive social media presence. On Instagram, the event has almost 50 thousand followers. While the carnival looks fascinating on the mobile screen, some youngsters felt that it is not so in reality.

“To be honest, we are a little disappointed. We thought there will be many more activities but it is nothing compared to what we see on social media,” said Mishti who was sitting in a corner with her friend.

The food carnival was first held in 2018 and attracted over a lakh visitors across Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

 

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Shehwaaz covers community, sexuality, gender, and other social issues for Patriot.