Few friends, creative to their core, came together to organise a Nepalese party in London ten years ago. They titled the club night, Aunai Parcha. That’s where the Parcha story began. The two young guys, Nawal Rai and Samir Gurung (also known as Shishi) have been there from the very beginning and seen the highs and low of creating events, managing people and seeing a culture unfold right before their eyes. Young Nepalese teens are discovering themselves and their roots through Parcha ; the club nights, PCA (Parcha Creative Arts) – an intimate space of poetry, acoustic music and insightful conversations to Joon Festival. Their events vary in size and type and appeal to all ages. I mean, have you seen the attendance of Joon Festival?
I’ve seen Nawal and Shishi’s dream of Parcha take shape and unfold to something so big it seems that Parcha is no longer theirs only. From their sporting, fashion, talk, music and film events – Parcha lies in the hearts of people across the UK and the many who travel to their events like Joon Festival. The group created global news when they booked Wembley Arena with Nepathya back in 2013. The boys have also taken their company overseas to New York, Europe and Nepal. Do correct me if I’ve missed any out…
The 10th Anniversary event in April was cancelled due to coronavirus and soon after, the biggest Nepalese music event in the UK – Joon Festival was also postponed.
Parcha has unarguably helped the promotion of Nepalese culture in the UK and played a role in influencing young Nepalese people’s social connections and openness to embrace their roots. I believe that Parcha is an asset to the Nepalese community in the UK for they do many things that our parents and elders do not have the capacity to. In the second half of their ten year journey, Parcha have actively created events that appeal to people of all backgrounds and languages. It gives me immense pleasure to see them mark their 10th anniversary’ and on that note, I thought I’d ask ten questions on their TENTH.
LEX: How does it feel to know that Parcha is ten years old, did you ever think you’d take the Parcha name this far?
SHISHI: It feels like we have peeled enough onions. I believe in longevity so I personally thought this was possible.
NAWAL: It’s hard to take it all in because I still feel like I am in my teens.
LEX: What has been your personal favourite event?
NAWAL: PCA (Parcha Creative Arts) always!
SHISHI: My personal favourite event was when Yodda and Keith Ape performed for our 7th Birthday event. We had lots of international people who absolutely loved Yodda and Keith Ape. The event was a tipping point for us.
LEX: You’ve done events that bring in thousands to a small events for a crowd of 50, what are some of the challenges in doing large-scale events and the challenges of a small-intimate event?
SHISHI: The challenges in doing large-scale events are time management, decision making, detailed planning, budgeting and risk assessment. The challenges in doing small-intimate event are sometimes you underestimate the aptitude of the event and tend to do less.
NAWAL: I think in this ten years, we’ve encountered almost everything! Phone threats from the so-called Dons, double booking from the venues and venue changes on the day itself, artists cancelling the events, police turning up and shutting down the event due to some fights outside the club and what not! Sad thing is we promoters are always to blame when things are not in our hands. Recently, we had to cancel three big events due to Covid 19 and it left a big hole for us.
LEX: Most people see the scale of Joon Festival and dream of replicating an event like that! How much work does it actually take and when or how do you know if an event like Joon Festival is a success? And how much of a financial success has Joon Festival been?
SHISHI: In the beginning, it takes enormous amount of research, brainstorming, planning, logistics and teamwork. Once the structure is plotted, commitment to fulfil the milestones are imperative. Events like Joon festival are a success when it does not compromise on quality and demand.
Along with bringing lots of top-notch artists together in one platform and helping start-ups & SMEs to prosper through the event, Joon festival aims to accomplish the demand by providing magnificent staging, sounds, lights, decorations, foods, drinks and logistics in a safe environment. Joon festival has yet to reach the desired financial success and we are working on it. We are in a financial transition phase.
NAWAL: It’s a team effort and takes a good year of planning and bringing a festival to life. Shout-out to Bfest! Financially, we give the best quality we can.
LEX: What has been some funny memories during events, whether with celebrities, attendees or team members?
NAWAL: There was a phone call for tickets, and I think it was Samir who picked up the phone and next thing you hear is, “ dai ticket ko lagi phone gareko.. mero credit chaina, please call me back” phone down.
SHISHI: One of the funny memories yet frustrating was when our main headlining artist was not allowed to enter the event venue which we organised because he didn’t bring his ID with him. The security restriction was very strict and we felt quite embarrassed.
There was another moment when our main DJs was thrown out of the club by security during his show and wasn’t allowed back in. It was very difficult at the time to negotiate with venue management. We managed to find another DJ asap for replacement and the event went smoothly. However it was worrying yet funny how it got escalated.
Other funny moment was when our dearest Nawal arrived for a meeting after 12 hours of the schedule time. We planned to meet at 11am in the morning in one of our team member’s house but he turned up right after 11pm at night when everyone was ready to go to bed. It was definitely hilarious lol
LEX: You’ve done events in UK, USA, Nepal and have been supporting events in Belgium. How will Parcha continue in the future?
SHISHI: Parcha will continue changing the nature of experience, making it more memorable and pleasurable.
LEX: Was there ever a point when you felt like you wanted to stop Parcha?
NAWAL: Many times. We’re working on something relating to this, so I will let you see in details when this comes up on the big screen haha!
SHISHI: Yes few times when I felt that my personal development had been stagnant and some events were very time-consuming without the desired outcome.
Yet, I always wanted to deliver my best on what I started and my desire for Parcha to do well was bigger than my temporary feeling of giving up. So, I constantly worked hard and went extra miles to reach that goal. Furthermore, I want to emphasize the exceptional effort of Nawal, Amar, Deepen, Prabin and entire Parcha families to cultivate the fundamentals in Parcha which assist on surpassing that feeling.
LEX: If one day there was a film made on Parcha, let’s say, a film about how this group started and all, what song do you think would fit the theme well?
SHISHI: That’s a fascinating question. I wish it happens. I would say ‘ सिक्रेको गीत ( चोला एक पटक) ’ by Night band.
NAWAL: Damn! “Chanel Tres – Controller” for now
LEX: Please tell me something you’ve learnt in the past ten years in this Parcha journey which may be helpful for others?
NAWAL: Don’t be afraid to dream the impossible, “because if you don’t start at all, it won’t CUM at all.” There are always people bringing you down in many occasions, just trust in your vision and give your all.
SHISHI: The most important thing I have learnt is the importance of good communication. When everyone is on the same page and has the same vision, the task we take becomes a lot smoother and enjoyable.
In addition, sound financial planning and control is of fundamental importance and aspiring to gain understanding of consumers’ needs and their safety is equally significant. Moreover, enhancing the customer relationship is the top most priority.
LEX: So, help me complete the sentence please… Parcha is:
SHISHI: Parcha is the epitome of opportunity to showcase the expertise and artistic interpretation.
NAWAL: Life, fewa taal ma dive.