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November 21, 2016

Global Citizen Festival 2016 – Adventure of a lifetime

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Surreal is the word I would use to describe the Global Citizen India Festival 2016, which was held in Mumbai on 19th November, which is also ‘World Toilet Day’.

The festival marked the first ever performance of the famous rock band ‘Coldplay‘ in India. The 9 hours long festival also had performances by Jay-Z, Demi Lovato, Arijit Singh, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, A.R. Rahman, Farhan Akhtar among many others. While many celebrities like Ritesh Deshmukh, Shah Rukh Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Malaika Arora Khan, Parineeti Chopra hosted the festival, Dia Mirza, Kweku Mandela (grandson of Nelson Mandela), Dada Vaswani, Devendra Fadnavis (CM of Maharashtra) inspired the people present with their powerful speeches and took pledges to improve education, gender equality and sanitation in India. Even Narendra Modi spoke to the crowd of thousands through video conferencing.

The festival was a one of its kind festival. The festival began with the a performance by Arijit Singh. Performances by Demi Lovato, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, A.R. Rahman, Jay Z saw the crowd go berserk. Azeem Banatwalla, Sapan Verma and Sahil Shah of the East India Comedy too encouraged people to work towards gender equality, sanitation and quality education while having them in splits. As the clock neared 8 pm, the crowd started running out of patience, as they had braved the afternoon heat for the gig by ‘Coldplay‘.

Coldplay‘ finally took the stage at around 9pm and performed around 20 songs. Songs like ‘Yellow’, ‘Scientist’, ‘Up & Up’, ‘Fix You’, ‘Hymn For The Weekend‘, ‘Paradise’ were a part of the 1.5 hour gig. While Chris Martin won the hearts of all those present by talking about how he loved India in Hindi, what could perhaps be described as the best moment of the entire evening was A.R. Rahman and Chris Martin singing ‘Vande Mataram‘ together, which was followed Chris singing a small rendition of ‘Channa Mereya‘.

Global Citizen is an initiative that started 5 years back in New York. The festival is organised by Global Poverty Project, and is part of a continued movement to end extreme poverty by 2030. It aimed to spread awareness about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

An interesting fact about the fest was that about 80% tickets were up for free, which were to be won in a draw. To enter the draw, one had to take part in what was called ‘Action Journeys’ and earn points. Thus, the festival marked the culmination of a 2 month long journey, a journey in which people signed petitions and called for action on causes they care about.

To sum it all up, Global Citizen India Festival 2016 was ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ and left me with ‘A Headful of Dreams’.

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