With 1,500 attendees at the concert, 400 guests at the conference and more than 450 fans who attended the pop-up shop — year three of Urban Desi Concert and Conference is officially a success.
Co-founded by Monty Kataria, Abhinav Chintakunta and Chanpreet Singh, the two-day event was presented by Saavn and powered by B4U Music. The weekend kicked off with an exclusive press conference at our grub partner’s location in Flatiron — Indikitch.
Official events began the next day with the conference at New York University’s Kimmel Centre and a concert at Live Nation’s Irving Plaza on Friday. On Friday afternoon, we incorporated a brand new interactive feature by c0-hosting a pop-up shop in collaboration with Product of Culture.
The conference kicked off with a female powered panel — moderated by Brown Girl Magazine’s CEO’s Trisha Sakhuja-Walia — and panelists including fashion designer Megha Rao of HoliChic, Emmy award-winning journalist Narmeen Choudhury of Pix 11, Time Inc’s reporter Priya Desai, Saavn’s artist and relations manager Hiba Irshad to name a few. The women spoke about topics ranging from show their vulnerabilities at the workplace to fighting their way to the top in their respective fields as South Asian women.
This year’s panel discussions featured not only music related guests but also South Asian thought-leaders in technology, entertainment, business, marketing, education, philanthropy, art, fitness, and more.
After the unique female empowered panel, three smaller panels ran simultaneously during the first hour: Philanthropy and Nonprofits, Entrepreneurship and Startups, and Made in New York. The second half consisted of Health and Fitness, The Audile Image: Film and Digital Media and The YouTube Frenzy panels.
Terry Mardi, who is most commonly known for coining the term “Urban Desi,” was the keynote speaker of the night. Mardi went through the history of urban desi music, including a mini presentation on a documentary he’s working on, which relates to the start of the urban desi era, and it would include interviews with legends who opened the door for artists today.
The night ended with the “Kalakaar” panel, which featured some of the biggest artists performing at the concert including Arjun, Jaz Dhami, Raxstar, The PropheC, Kamal Raja, Fateh, Master D and Kashif. The artists sung a few lines from their greatest hits, spoke on their excitement about the urban desi music scene, and took on some serious questions from the audience about their music and how comfortable they feel about using scantily clad women in music videos and its reflection on their characters. There was also snacks from Indikitch and a raffle by our sponsor Luna Park, NYC’s largest amusement park in the heart of Coney Island, at the conference.
The pop-up shop was in collaboration with Product of Culture and took place in SoHo. The event saw the likes of Raxstar, Fateh, Anik Khan, DJ Sharad, and Jaz Dhami, in addition to creatives including Rootsgear Clothing, Babbu the Painter, ByBadal, Jasmine Lakhesar, Atif Ateeq, Jessie Sohpaul selling their merch.
This year’s concert brought back Amar Sandhu, Pranna, Fateh, Samica, and Saavn’s Artist Originals (AO) hitmakers Raxstar and The PropheC. The Bilz and Kashif, Arjun, Kamal Raja, Bohemia, Deep Jandu and Jaz Dhami hit the UDC stage for the first time, and a surprise appearance by Queens’ very own Anik Khan also took place.
UDC 2018 was presented by Saavn, powered by B4U Music, in addition to Aleria Arts and Seth Studios as the premiere digital and branding partners, and Indikitch came on board as the official grub partner. The event was hosted by Monty Lokesh Kataria aka @MontyisLive and conceptualized by @desi.NYC. Returning partners at this year’s conference and concert included Urban Asian and BrownGirlMagazine.com.
The fourth Urban Desi Conference and Concert is slated for the weekend of March 29, 2019, so stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.