16th August 2023

Alice & Malavika Take Birmingham Festival 23

We have been working with Alice & Malavika, two students from the University of Birmingham who are taking part in a Summer internship with Sampad. We asked them to write about their experience working on event day, at Birmingham Festival 23.


My experience interning at Sampad’s takeover day as part of ‘Festival 23’ was unlike anything I have done before. After two weeks of researching the performers and creating social media posts about them, seeing them in the flesh felt like a celebrity interaction as exciting as any other. The vivacity of the performers’ costumes, particularly Eternal Taal’s and Sonia’z Fusion’s, was something very special.

Having little knowledge of bhangra prior to the internship, the bright colours, costumes and jewellery felt cinematic to me; like something I have only ever seen in films and on screens coming to life before me. The crowd helped with this feeling, too. I honestly thought there was some kind of flash mob at first, but the day’s visitors were just (very enthusiastically) dancing along! That they felt safe and welcomed enough to do so in a public space really made me smile. I had a chat with a woman who told me how much she had been looking forward to the day- after telling her that she ‘had moves’ she wisely replied ‘it’s all in the hips’, which really made me laugh. 

Women, men and children of all ages and ethnicities dancing along to South Asian music and dance seemed to make the sun come out, as the 29th was the first non-rainy day for a depressingly long amount of time. As my colleague, Malavika, and I went round Centenary Square asking visitors to fill out surveys, we saw how much people were enjoying the day. Whether they had planned to come or were simply passing through, there were vast amounts of people taking interest and asking us questions about Sampad and the day itself. It was a heart-warming day that I would not have experienced without applying for the Sampad internship.


29th July was one of the most anticipated days in my life. I started to work as an intern at Sampad Arts just two weeks before that. Being a marketing intern at an organisation which is known for their hosting and execution skills, I made an extra effort to make myself familiarised with the artists who were performing at the Sampad take over day at Birmingham Centenary Square.

I must admit that I was quite nervous when I reached the main stage. It was my first time attending a live event as a member of the hosting team. I didn’t know what to expect. But as soon as I stepped into the dancing crowd in the front and heard the familiar rhythms of Bollywood music, my anxiousness was nowhere to be found. I could see people everywhere, people who are dancing, singing and posing for cameras. They were from different age groups, from different countries and linguistic cultures but they were all together clapping and dancing to the mesmerizing beats of ‘Eternal Taal’- A true portrayal of the beauty of multiculturalism!

After the initial security clearance, Harriet (marketing manager) gave us instructions on our duties for the day with side note, ‘don’t forget to enjoy.‘ Along with my colleague, I spend a few hours clicking pictures and talking to the crowd about the programs. We requested them to give us comments and feedbacks about the event and noted down everything carefully and above all, we enjoyed doing all of this whilst moving ourselves along the music. After finishing the shift, I spend some time calmly walking among the people, I could see them smile, dance and sing, absorbing the rich cultural heritage of south Asia into their hearts and for me that’s the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.

And I guess that’s what Sampad stands for.