It’s quite evident that looking at Hi-Fi Marketing’s trajectory, they do not seem to be fit to run bhangra competitions and I think BTF is a great place to warn future teams who apply for competitions run by them to be cautious.
Our team also recently competed at Vice and had a similar experience as others did. One thing I want to point out is that things did not start going downhill that weekend. They were disorganized from the start. Upon receiving our acceptance, we reached out to Rahul about details on exact location and hotel rates so that we could submit funding requests to our undergraduate student government. He was initially quite responsive but dropped the ball a couple weeks after. He released the registration packet 3 weeks past the date stated which put us in a tough position, funding wise. He also said he was going to release the lineup on New Year’s Day but ended up posting it a week later which, though minor, only proves my point. Essentially, Rahul failed to meet us halfway from the start.
Another major issue was the lack of communication between Rahul and the liaisons. Teams depend on the liaisons for up to date information on the events of the weekend as well as helping us get supplies and getting around town, especially teams like us who flew in and don’t have a car. However, our liaisons were kept as much in the dark about the weekend as we were, which is no fault of their own. Some were also assigned to more than one team which made it difficult for them to be accessible to us. It’s unfortunate that transparency was an issue because I’m sure more of us would be more sympathetic towards Rahul if he was open about the reality of the situation and kept us updated.
Competitions are required to provide transportation from the hotel to: the mixer, venue, afterparty, and airport. This was not consistently provided. Our team received transportation to the mixer and the venue but had to uber to the party and airport as well as coming back from the mixer and the venue. In fact, my co-captain and I were left with no transportation back from the mixer after we had a captain’s meeting that ended late at night even though we were told we would be provided with a shuttle. We were willing to let it go because Rahul told us they would reimburse us for the money we spent on transportation, but we have yet to receive this reimbursement.
In terms of the venue, although it was disappointing to have to perform in a gymnasium, this wasn’t my main concern. Our tech time was only 10 minutes long and it was a couple hours before the show was going to start. Not only did we not have enough time to adjust to the stage after the dimensions changed three times, but we didn’t have enough time to debrief after tech time as we had to immediately start getting ready for the show. In addition, we were told that we wouldn’t have any lighting cues which we were fine with as long as there was stage light. Hence, we didn’t have any cues during tech time. Later in the day, apparently, they were able to get their system together and decided at the last minute that they were going to do lighting cues. But because some teams, like us, were unable to practice with them, our cues were completely messed up in the actual performance. Half of our performance was essentially in the dark, making it difficult to even see where we were going.
A smaller but just as relevant issue was lack of practice space. This, again, should have been provided. The hotel provided us with meeting rooms on Friday, but we could not use them past 8 pm so most teams had to resort to the parking lot which ended up being an issue with the other hotel guests. If we were given a proper space to practice, all issues would have been avoided.
The last major point I wanted to bring up was the judge’s meeting after the competition. It was a bit shocking that the judges were under the impression that we wouldn’t have a judge’s meeting after the show. The purpose of this meeting is for captains to receive useful feedback on their set in order to keep improving. Once the judges agreed to having a meeting, they only gave us five minutes per team which made it difficult for us to thoroughly discuss the set and any follow up questions from that. I understand that it was impromptu, but we also weren’t sure whether we would receive any written notes or score sheets. We depend on this feedback for future competitions and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t spend more time discussing this with the judges. This is not meant to target any of the judges because just like the liaisons, they were kept in the dark about a lot of details and did their best to accommodate despite everything.
Not getting gear, attending a mixer in the dark 4 hours late, and many other details were only the cherry on top of quite a dysfunctional weekend. But the purpose of my post is not to shit on Rahul or Hi-Fi Marketing. Should you be wary of applying and attending comps run by them? Absolutely. But this post is meant to bring important issues to the attention of other committees that may run into similar issues in the future when holding competitions.
- Make sure you’re hitting deadlines from the start. Time management and transparency are imperative in running a comp. If a delay is necessary, be upfront and honest. Teams respect committees who don’t try to hide anything and meet them halfway. If you expect us to have a killer performance, we expect to attend a killer comp. Or at least an organized one.
- One liaison per team! They’re humans, guys. Attending to one team’s needs throughout the weekend is hectic enough and their efficiency will only decrease when you add more load. And make sure they have answers when teams ask them questions. If they are just as clueless as we are, there’s no point in even having a liaison to begin with.
- Tech time should always be in the morning and should be at minimum, 20-25 mins. Most comps already do this, so I am not going to elaborate further. And make sure lighting cues are squared away at this time.
- Always provide transportation from the airport to the hotel as well as to the venue and mixer. Any comp related event should always have transportation provided as well as a practice space for each team.
- Make sure judges are aware that they are to meet with each team after the show to discuss feedback on the set. A comp without a post judges meeting is unacceptable. And make sure enough time is allotted for each team.
Yeah, Vice was crazy. But this experience brought all thirteen teams together. We were all rooting for each other through the entire weekend and had each other’s backs. That’s the blessing I took away from that weekend. Every team powered through so shoutout to everyone for being such good sports despite the circumstances. Hopefully Rahul will see this thread and work to provide a better experience at Bhangra and the City this April.
But above all, keep dancing! ?
P.S. Don't indulge in false advertising. Vice was advertised in Miami and Rahul even said "Welcome to Miami" at the mixer when we were an hour away, in Boca Raton...don't go down that rabbit hole.