Sanjeev Kotnala: How to max it at Goafest. A frequent Goafest Traveller’s Guide

08 Apr,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Goafest is in its 10th edition and I have attended each one that does make me carry the FGT (Frequent Goafest Traveller) tag. I have witnessed the initial euphoria, blatant cribs, complaints, boycott, free beer to paid beer to lovely parties that are very much part of it, and yes the knowledge seminars and the conclaves.


The high expectations have been tempered through the years. The dream of high participation from neighbouring countries remains a distant dream. The template has been working and no one has really bothered other than minor cosmetic changes.


Now we have foam in the rain dance, the beer is still free, the parties indoor and they do last longer, April becomes a bit tolerable by event being indoors. In spirit and in action, Goafest has retained its character in spite of living through umpteen committees and challenges.


So, if you are new at Goafest or been a FGT read this now to Maxit at Goafest.?


I will not duck behind the planner’s standard answer: ‘It depends on what you want from Goafest’. Nor I would claim that the experience and research has any scientific basis.  Yet, I will acknowledge that it matters to question; why you are there in the first place? Who is paying for the registration and TBL? Who are you accountable to? Are you single, single ready to mingle or in a group? What is your age and gender? Do you smoke and drink? Do you like seafood? Are you grass-dependent and can you hold a Glass?


Kicking these possible permutations out, here is the simplified guide. A personal consultation for media brands to best utilise GoaFest can only be arranged by prior appointment.


MAXIT at Goafest is simple- just keep these 11 things in your radar.

a. Pack Disprin, ENO, Digene , Highlighter and suntan. Then according to gender, pack shorts, shorter tops, deep cuts, sleeveless t-shirts, three-fourths, t-shirts, crocks, after-shaves and mouthwash. Optimists pack protection, pessimists Google nearest Chemist. Do not pack alarm clocks, high heels and hairbands. Do not pack specialised camera unless you are a photo-enthusiast.



a. Ensure you are at staying at the fest venue. That will most likely not be possible until unless you have links, you are a speaker or a senior industry face. Then look at the next best option, places within easy distance. And if you fall in this category, dump all your formals.
b. Reach there well in time. A day earlier is acceptable.  At your own pace get the registration completed. Suggest you do that on Day 1 afternoon when all the goodies are available.



a. Very thoroughly scan the schedule. Now ask if the sessions will add to your professional growth. Then highlight sessions you are going to NOT ATTEND. Use a highlighter (that you should have packed) to clearly visualise your own window of opportunities. Each session highlighted is a NASU (Not-attending-session-unit). If you have less than 12 such units: re-check.

b. If you are diligent, you could take Step 4 now and pre-feed your Tweets in buffer. So that no one is wiser where you are. Do update in case sessions are cancelled.

c. Attend few sessions and live-tweet with the right hastag. You can be super witty or foolish and the fraternity will understand.

d. In the first session, you attend take lots of  selfies (no stage in frame) with different friends. Avoid PYT’s or the dude/stud in selfie unless you are looking at hitting like buttons and answer comments. Now you can up that whenever you want. The background will remain the same.



a. One NASU should be used to collect all free items by participating at the various brand stalls. Do it on the first half of Day 2. The stocks are available then. The stall guys still fresh and willing.
b. Use 2 NASUs for seeing the entries displayed at the fest.
c. Use a max of 4 NSAUs to go sightseeing. Do it on Day 2 and be back by lunchtime. On Day 3 there are chances you will oversleep and miss reporting time.


5. NETWORK. Do some work? Target a certain number of new faces that you will meet and a number for of known ones. Check your count. Strategically stalk them to chase your targets


6. BEER. Ask your friends to keep check on the number of beers you enjoy. Around 1-2 per presentation is considered par at Goafest. In case you feel otherwise just leave the venue. You don’t want anyone seeing you in that condition.


7. Get some strange fashion statement dress. This helps to feature in newsletters.


8. Q&A

a. for the serious-minded: For you self-brand is very important. Go through the sessions you plan to attend (if any). Read the LinkedIn profile of the speaker. Read the first 3-4 Google hits on the topic. Prepare a mast question. Introduce yourself and ask that question during Q&A. Pace it to allow cameraman to pan and catch you in frame.

b. For lazy ones. You have no questions to ask. Master the art of paraphrasing speakers thoughts and make an arbit contribution. Do it early in the Q&A or you risk the chance of being booed by the crowd.
c. For uninterested. 99.9% of audience.  It’s your time to get yourself another beer.



a. Do not show that you carry any light.  Remember asking for light is a good way to start a conversation. If someone asks you for a light be helpful and when he/she is taking first drag to light, its time for you to start a conversation. No need to mention that smoke only in the designated area.



a. Start a rumour that your phone battery has been draining fast. It helps to escape unwarranted calls or ‘can I use your phone’ requests. Do not flash your smartphone at the awards nite. And never praise its megapixels and picture quality in dim light or be ready to become unofficial photographer for your team.



a. Do not be bogged down by the award nite unless you are one of the finalists
b. If you are one of the finalists, check and cross-check which award nite includes your category. You don’t want to be sitting in a wrong award nite. Ensure your team has the right Noise Making And Amplifying Gadgets. Make one of team member reach early and block seats so that you can sit in groups.
c. Join your gang on stage even if the only thing you did on the project was say congrats. You are a veteran if you could collect your trophy alone discouraging other team members.
d. Ensure someone clicks your photographs with the trophy and you immediately upload that.


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