Long live Goafest

04 May,2022




By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaSo, it is final; I will miss the post Covid edition of Goafest. In fact, the first Goafest I will miss. I wish the industry event a grand success.


I am sure the organising team has done enough to rejuvenate the format. I hope it continues to have fun-filled moments, networking opportunities, higher marketer attendance, and afterparties, where stories happen. Undisputed scam-less Awards, and that will not be too much to ask!


My decision not to attend Goafest got nothing to do with the unfinished story and just that there are some commitments life served as a warning. I will keep writing and try to keep up with my frequency and consistency benchmark.


For a few, it will be their first Goafest and, for some, their last. Most participants would have been at Goafest before. The more times they attend the fest, the more blind they tend to become, accepting Goafest the way it was and the way it is. Maybe this time it will be different.



Goafest – Nostalgia.

Goafest has seen it all, and I am nostalgic about it.



I remember in the initial editions when I checked into Hyatt, I was surprised to see a small, well-crafted small bag. It was a small, sponsored gift, and it had a strip of Aspirin to take care of the hangover, a mouth freshener in case you need it, and a condom. I think it was MTV who sponsored the gift.



Regular Goafest participants would have polarised views on the afternoon rain dance, a standard feature for a few editions. It later became a bit of a nuisance with more crowd on the visitors’ gallery than on the foam-filled floor. Save water campaigns, and a few other reasons stopped it in 2018.



Authorised and unauthorised Goafest magazines are part of the festival. Four different titles were fighting the audience’s limited attention at one point. The content was more pictorial, with the same set of people featured in most of them.

Dainik Bhaskar was the first to do the 3-D edition for Goafest. Personally, these magazines outlived their utility as social media has taken over.



The late-night beach parties were phenomenal. Later they moved indoors to avoid the 10.30 pm ban.

Dainik Bhaskar’s Passport Party’ highjacked one such Thursday evening gala. It was people who came early on Thursday but were not part of the Knowledge Seminar that evening. Oh, those days, the first-day seminar was by invitation only.



2014 edition, everyone was busy checking how much time the lift takes to travel between the floors at Hyatt Goa. And in 2016, the indoor swimming pool at Hyatt was more crowded than the afterparty, causing many other residents discomfort.



Water sports were a major attraction when Goafest was held at the Cavelossim beach. Then after a mishap, water sports were stopped and rightly too.

Those days one walked a reasonable distance before hitting the huge AC seminar hanger. It was fun as the path took you through a mela type street with stalls. In the subsequent few editions, these stalls became more of sponsor technology stalls- google was the best ever stall- and then the fest moved indoors




The beer on the house for almost 24 hours has been free to be rationed through allotted coupons. By 2016, much beer was being consumed, and the attention from the knowledge seminar was challenged. I even suggested doing away with free beer. Hopefully, beer and drinks will continue.




The awards kept expanding at Goafest to the extent that you could congratulate anyone post-award night, and you would not be wrong. Then awards were rationalised and redefined in sync with the industry evolution and changing trends. Hopefully, we have a far better awards night.

The selfie moment on stage was a good initiative but has outrun its excitement. One award night, someone used the swear words on stage; other than that, it has been trouble-free.




Goafest has seen a strategic move from being just functional oriented speakers to covering a large spectrum of subjects and possibilities. We can always debate if the speakers and their subject interests and engage the audience. However, the film stars and sports personalities drew more attendance than anyone else, and I don’t think that will change.




Participants’ visit to entries display area has always been an area of concern. They fail to recognise the treasure in there. The organisers tried everything possible to push people to visit the display area but never succeeded. The loss is entirely of the participants, and hopefully, it will change.




In initial Goafest editions, sponsors would trust a gift to every passing participant. And that’s where the laptop bag came in handy. The best one ever was sponsored by Discovery. Slowly, they have moved to strategic games and activities to win goodies. Hope the games and activities are more engaging and exciting and the gifts or utilities better than in earlier editions. There is that additional charm in playing to win something really classy.



From the time Goafest started, a core team of industry stalwarts have managed it. They have done a great job, but they have been less appreciated. Three cheers to them.

But, very few young members of the fraternity are getting into action in managing and organising Goafest. It is not about succession and handing over the rein; it is about sustenance, continuity, rejuvenation, and reviving. Or maybe the transition is so smooth that one has missed the induction of fresh blood and young representatives.

I am not complaining when they have been doing such a great job?



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