For lovers of authentic food and great music, the Bollywood & Indian Food Festival was the place to be. Last Sunday, above 3000 gathered at Dok Amsterdam, one of the most famous festival locations in the city from 1pm to 11pm to celebrate the Indian culture.
At the festival, people could discover the country’s gastronomy provided by 12 different independent food trucks. Some of the trucks experienced food shortages due to the large number of attendants. Apart from the large food demand, visitors were compelled to enjoy Indian music and visit a cinema section with classic Bollywood films. Later during the day, the event resulted in a party with live DJ acts that created a festive atmosphere, accompanied by a lot of dancing, singing and the enjoyment of drinks.
Ahmad Waseem, an international business student at HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem, originary from Pakistan, attended the event as a vendor with his wife Areejh Amna Aamir, a law student. “Since I am a student of business [sic] and my father owns a handicraft business since 1997, I want to extend this business internationally,” said Waseem. Like his father, Waseem dedicated to selling handicraft at the festival, named “Marvi handicrafts,” where visitors had the opportunity to purchase handmade items from Pakistan, such as wall hangings, cushion covers, tablemats and key chains, among others. The young student aims to introduce Pakistani handicrafts into the Dutch market, and start an online business. “It is very hard, since I am a student of an Applied Sciences university. We have a very practical education,” he admits. “However, even though I need to fill my basic necessities and introduce a new business, I still managed to get in time to put this stall together.”
Amna Aamir, who helped her husband sell handicrafts during the day, admitted she enjoyed the event. “It was nice, I like that there are people from different nationalities, and that we can all enjoy the Bollywood culture,” she said. “In addition, [it] show[s] a side of our culture, that people mostly don’t see. The whole story behind all the pieces.”
Unlike the Pakistani couple, quite a few visitors complained and expressed their disappointment in the festival’s Facebook page. For instance, some people argued, that the size of the venue at the Dok Amsterdam was not spacious enough to fit the amount of people they received. Others believed, that the food, entrance fee and parking was too expensive. However, the organizators gladly shared their response to the complains: “As there is always room for improvement we have noted a few points which we will immediately look to improve in order to have provide you with an even greater experience of what [the festival] has to offer. So no more long lines, more food trucks and staff, an entrance for disabled people and only the best Indian foods, acts and surprises.”
Overall, the vendors and visitors seemed to enjoy the event regardless of the complains. “The staff was amazing and very cooperative. Everyone was kind and we had a wonderful time there,” said Amna Aamir.