| 22 Sep 2023 revives B69 to bring BIG69 heavy metal festival to the city

MUMBAI: B69 in Andheri, was one of the most popular underground venues Mumbai was home to until a few years ago. Owned by, it saw numerous metal acts, keeping the scene alive in the city, until it shut down in 2012. Despite Mumbai having various gigs and shows at different venues, they have struggled to provide the city with enough metal to please the city’s metalheads. That said, Bajaoo announced that B69 (BIG69) is back, not as a venue this time, but a full-fledged heavy metal festival. BIG69 is scheduled to take place on 17 and 18 January at Richardson & Cruddas in Byculla, and pre-sale tickets have already begun at a price of Rs 2000, and Rs 1500 for students.

BIG69 Festival Director and Senior Manager at Himanshu Vaswani said, "Since B69 shut down, there were efforts to revive it, and two years ago we decided to make it bigger and turn it into a festival. Mumbai needs a metal festival and one more metal festival in the country would not hurt anyone."

Pepsi MTV Indies is one of the promotional sponsors of the festival. Along with promoting the festival through advertisements on the channel, MTV Indies will also organise a contest to bring two local bands to play at BIG69. Vaswani mentioned that, in a small way, the channel is also helping organisers plan the festival. Additionally, Rolling Stone India has offered ad space to the festival, but the team is still looking for major sponsors to support it.  

Vaswani added, "We have been working on the festival for more than a year now. A lot of planning has gone into it and especially, when it is a genre like metal, it has to be done right. It is a genre that is not well supported, even by venues or partners. We cannot go wrong with the numbers, venue, line-up, the time to launch it and promotions. We have been trying to find the right formula to make metal more viable to the people; the idea is to take metal to the masses and we have to change the game of the genre."

A partial line-up of the festival has been announced, and UK based grime metal band Hacktivist and Italian death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse are two of the major acts. The event will see 22 bands across two stages in two days. The other bands that have been announced include acts like Underside (Nepal groove metal) and local ones - Plague Throat, Albatross, Providence, Demonic Resurrection, Gutslit, Devoid, Inner Sanctum, Kryptos, Chronic Xorn, Grammy Winning Effort, Escher’s Knot, Undying Inc, Noiseware and Zygnema. Vaswani assured that the other two headliners to be announced are going to be bigger, and will be revealed soon, while building the suspense for festival-goers.

He also said, "We are really hoping to get sponsors, to get the right brands on board - people who think there is value in this genre. There is not enough metal in Mumbai because of high entertainment tax and lack of venues. The entire setup of Richardson & Cruddas has the perfect ambience for a metal gig and we are making it as inclusive as we can. It is mostly a self-funded fest and we have invested a lot. Even if we get sponsors, it will not cover most of our expenses. So, we are really going to rely on selling a lot of passes and are hoping that the response will be good. The good thing about metal is that people show up in numbers and BIG69 is definitely going to be an annual event."