In the 29 days, that Nepathya traveled across Nepal for its peace music concert tour this month, there were times when their bus was the only vehicle on the road. Undeterred by bandas, the band decided their commitment to the people was a priority. So, by the simple act of driving to their concerts, they made a political statement-one that spoke up for music, education and peace. At every concert, lead vocalist Amrit Gurung called for schools to be kept violence-free.
While Kathmandu may be blas? about music concerts, the rest of Nepal is hungry for quality entertainment (see Nation). The huge crowds that turned up at the 14 Nepathya gigs proved the demand exists and people are willing to pay. The Beed happened to witness the long queues that snaked outside the Damak venue hours before the concert was scheduled. Later, the audio-visual presentations and the technical excellence of the event amazed those who were lucky enough to get tickets. An ecstatic fan said afterwards he rarely got the opportunity to witness events of that calibre.
Kiran Krishna Shrestha of event nepa~laya, the event management company that handled the 'Education for Peace' tour, showed courage in his willingness to take risks. His logic was simple: the marketing and publicity rupee fetches more outside Kathmandu. Other businesses too would do well to remember that 80 percent of Nepalis live beyond Thankot. Shrestha won by securing future markets outside the Valley although he gambled with bandas.
The use of celebrities as brand and goodwill ambassadors is a well-established practice around the world. It is heartening to see Nepathya beginning this trend in Nepal. With peace and education suffering, our youth need credible role models more than ever. The socio-economic fabric also demands stars who can afford to spend time and make an effort in addressing larger social issues. We will see the Nepathya model replicated in other businesses. Event nepa~laya has raised the bar for future players, and others will have to think twice before compromising on quality.
It is important that while businesses may boom, the impact of the message is not diluted. The next step, how the concert sound bite is converted into concrete action, will require a separate model. The Beed will gladly give it a name when someone comes up with it.