The managing director of Teamwork Productions and producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Sanjoy Roy, is a busy man these days as he oversees the production of the biggest festival of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region. The five-day festival starts at the Diggi Palace hotel in Jaipur on Friday. Roy spoke to us about preparations for the festival, the challenges it faces and more. Edited excerpts:
When did preparations for the festival begin?
In 2009. Each year, we programme ahead for two years at a time, starting with sending out invites and details to prospective authors and speakers.
Debate at DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2010
How many people attended the festival in 2010? How many do you expect this year?
An estimated 32,000 visitors attended the 2010 version (the press estimate was approx. 50,000). We only count the visitors during the day who register and attend a session, not visitors to the music programme.
As information about the festival spreads internationally, we attract more and more people each year. I can’t predict how many more or the number for 2011—just that we know there is huge interest in the festival, both in India and across the world, which we hope will translate into good audiences.
The festival is bigger than ever. Is that a challenge?
Space has been the single biggest issue. We have worked with Diggi Palace (the Diggi Palace hotel, where the Jaipur Literature Festival has been located every year since inception) to increase our capacity per hour from 2,500 to 5,000. We have also increased the number of sessions this year to accommodate the larger number of speakers (around 180) who have been invited this year.
Sponsorship always remains a challenge too particularly trying to find enough resources to match increased expenditure.
Have the city authorities played a role in the festival’s continuing growth?
The festival in Jaipur is successful due to the enthusiastic response of the local people. The city government extends us every courtesy and, of course, security. Our effort is to ensure that the festival is as inclusive as possible and accessible to everyone.
The democratic spirit of the festival is a unique aspect of Jaipur. All our guests, authors and visitors are VIPs and have equal opportunities to view every session.
How big is the team which puts the festival together?
Teamwork has 43 permanent staff who run over 17 festivals worldwide. For Jaipur, we work with over 100 people to deliver this complex festival.
What are the costs involved in putting the festival together?
No hidden secrets in this. The festival costs between Rs3.2-3.4 crore. The festival in 2007 cost us Rs1.2 crore.
Tell us a little about the first DSC Prize?
The announcement of the awards will be made at the festival on 22nd evening at a celebratory event.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Hope to see you there. Thank you.