This year, Spoken Fest by Kommune, powered by Spotify, took place on 11th and 12th January 2020 at JioWorld BKC, Mumbai. The festival saw over twelve thousand people in attendance across both days.
Spoken 2020 was a celebration of words featuring performances of poetry, music, and storytelling. Headlined by The Local Train and Peter Cat Recording Co., the festival also featured international spoken word stalwarts Rudy Francisco, Shane Koczyan and Rosie Garland.
The festival was interspersed with unusual experiences and some very interesting brand integrations. For example, Spoken brought an audio installation of forgotten stories from the mountains of India, and this year, the brands we saw at Spoken were Spotify, Netflix, Asian Paints, CRED, Stranger & Sons, White Owl, Blue Tokai, Bumble, and Harley Davidson. Each of these brands was integrated into the festival in a way that felt fresh and organic.
“Storytelling is an integral part of our culture in India and with Spoken Fest being an enabler that brings together artist voices to deliver impactful messages and musings, it was a really good decision to join forces with them for the most immersive weekend and to create an unforgettable experience. Anchor is an easy-to-use tool that we hope more creators will use to start sharing their stories with listeners.” said Amarjit Batra, Managing Director for India, at Spotify.
In addition to brand-led integrations, Spoken also housed their own set of soulful experiences such as Blind Book Date, Kahaani Ki Dukaan, #LetsTalkToStrangers, and A Venting & Theta healing Corner.
And of course, all of the performances! Each performance resonated with the members of the audience. There were soulful stories by Mithila Palkar and Varun Grover, power-packed performances by Rohan Joshi and Faye D'souza, and engaging conversations with Radhika Apte and Harsha Bhogle, among others.
“Spoken is like an annual empathy bootcamp!” said Regha Jha, performer and ex editor of BuzzFeed India. The deafening applause to the line in Rohan Joshi’s piece on anxiety “The opposite of ‘happiness’ is not ‘wrong’" showed us how much audiences want performances that are authentic and raw. "Spoken Fest is like the Coachella of Spoken Word," says Rudy Francisco, "I have never seen any other festival where people come out in such numbers to celebrate words like this."
The experiences didn’t end at matters of the heart, though, but also travelled all the way to your taste buds! All the food partners had Spoken Special menus that were curated to match the vibe & tribe at Spoken 3.0.
Across two days, people gravitated towards the 'Netflix House of Stories' stage for a series of interactive activities and discussions. The fan fiction writing workshop discussed various Netflix shows and films, including Sacred Games, and Stranger Things, and explored what enabled these stories to form a deep connection with the viewers. "We had a lovely time dissecting stories, sharing recommendations, and discovering how great stories are at connecting the world," says Nandini Varma, one of the attendees at the Netflix workshop. Following that was the Behensplaining session with Srishti Dixit and Kusha Kapila, which was definitely one of the highlights at Spoken 3.0.
“When brands get content right they reap richer rewards. At Spoken Fest we saw never before engagement with brands that found an audience who is mindful and vocal and appreciated the opportunity to be heard” said Roshan Abbas, founder of Spoken & Kommuneity.