Walking around in the IIT campus right now (an activity indulged in only by the intrepid under the hostile Chennai Sun) will certianly result in you running into the Aideu'05 posters. The graduands' farewell, though indeed and annual function, is never considered a big deal enough to publicise by posters. An IP on the notice board usually did the trick. So, why are there so many posters all over the place?
On a closer perusal of the posters , I found that they had sponsors' logos smeared all over the bottom. This solved the riddle. Years later, we will remember that Saint Gobain helped see us of at IIT Madras. This is not isolated occurence. IIT Madras has been growing more commercial of late. Our festivals (Shaastra and Saarang) have reached mammoth proportions - with sponsors giving money and demanding their pound of flesh.
Event coordinators are not forgiven if their event goofs up. They are hunted down by a quality control team; they are hunted down by sponsors for goofing up. These festivals are losing their amateur nature - and are becoming more professional year by year. Why, we even have the ISO for our Tech-fest. The campus is gradually becoming the big bad world itself.
This growing professionalism has created problems similar to those encountered in the real world. The press (the Shaastra newsletter) was stifled; criticisms of articles were hidden in order to retain the ISO. Events were covered by that oh-so-uncomfortable video camera.
Sponsors think that they own the festival just because they paid a little money. The only problem is that they actually do own the festival. Any oversights by the sponsorship coordinators and cores could result in a big mess. I recall an Ad in a national daily which forgot to mention a main sponsor. All hell broke loose. I remember writing a rather cynical article in the newsletter about it.
These festivals are all about having a good time and having fun. They are obviously viewed as marketing opportunities by a large number of sponsors - and they are indeed right. As long as they do not interfere with the people having a good time.
As of now, they are not interfering with people having a good time. But it is moving in that direction. The 'have a good time' motto of a festival is changing to 'make a lot of money'. These festivals are gradually becoming all about human greed. A good idea? I don't know.