Winters in Karachi cannot get better than this. This seems like the perfect time to amble out in varying states of blingy and casual to an awards’ night, a hyped drama’s screening (umm, maybe skip that) or a food festival. Yes, that’s what half the townsfolk was doing over the weekend.

Fusion of music and food brought the city out in the three-day Soul Fest at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park, featuring multiple food stalls and soulful performances by leading musicians, the attendants ate and grooved to.

Here is looking at the many highs and a few lows of the event, as Karachiites really catch on to the #foodfest culture.

The highs
It was well-managed, surprise!

Catering to a humongous crowd, food vendors and musicians whilst ensuring no one is pissed, calls for sound management. Poorly managed overcrowdings make it a recipe for disaster for both attendants and organisers. We attended the Soul Fest around 6 pm the final day, finding the entry process to be very swift (that is if you are accompanied by a female, see below). Since, The Strings were performing late at the finale, the crowd grew thicker in just a few hours but it wasn’t overbearing at any point. If you too share the universal abhorrence for long ques at stalls, happy to mention that there weren’t any.

Fun and safe space for families

Since it was a family event, only females could purchase the tickets. It did cause clamour as groups of unchaperoned men waited for their female friends and family at the gate for entrance. I almost pondered over this rule, was it totally necessary? That’s debateable. Eyeing big groups of stags – groups of men who had arrived solely on their own – was an uncomfortable sight for people who had arrived with families. Plus the-female-companion gimmick works, doesn’t it? There were no reported cases of misconduct or harassment at the festival which says a lot for public event in Karachi.

Music line-up

Strings, with a flourish of seasoned musicians gave a beautiful performance which reverberated with Karachiites beautifully. The music line-up of other bands and solo artists were also thoroughly enjoyed by attendees on day one and two. Kashmir The Band, The Raeth, Natasha Baig, Farhan Saeed etc delivered memorable performances.

What could have been better..
Seating arrangements

We want the organisers to come up with better arrangements for families to sit and savour the food and music. Yes, there were a few areas designated for seating but not enough as crowd thickened gradually. Although most people were not affronted by it at all, as they sat on the grassy ground, ate and grooved.

Platform for emerging artists

Much like food vendors were given a platform to launch their innovative dishes at stalls, Soul Fest can take the chance to debut or give wind to emerging musicians.