South Side Story: Where culture meets curiosity, Red FM’s Nisha Narayanan

South Side Story: Where culture meets curiosity, Red FM’s Nisha Narayanan

It is our humble effort to bring the south of India to the metros.

Nisha Narayanan

Mumbai: 93.5 RED FM, India’s leading private radio and entertainment network’s event ‘South Side Story Season 5’ in Mumbai, the edition proved to be a tremendous success. The event held at Richardson & Cruddas, Byculla witnessed an incredible turnout, with music lovers braving the rain to be a part of this unforgettable experience.

South Side Story Season 5 featured exceptional performances by Aattam Kalasamithi ft The Theikkinkaadu Band, Maalavika Sundar, Sean Roldan & Friends, Arivu, Agam, and Thaikkudam Bridge. Beyond the captivating music, attendees had the opportunity to indulge in a sumptuous spread of Sadhya and other South Indian delicacies, and refreshing beverages.

In light of the tremendous success of the Mumbai Edition, Red FM, the next stop in Delhi for the musical journey. South Side Story Season 5 - Delhi Edition is set to take place on 16 September 2023, at the iconic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. This edition promises a unique blend of hip-hop, rap artists, and playback singers and composers like Thirumali, Arivu, Humankind, All OK, Neeraj Madhav & Sithara’s Project Malabaricus who will take the stage to deliver unforgettable performances. The Delhi edition will be headlined by Karthik. in conversation with RED FM, and Magic FM director & COO Nisha Narayanan on the journey of South Side Story, the artists and advertisers response and much more…….

Edited excerpts

On the fifth season of South Side Story, your feelings and your expectations for this season

Over the years and in previous editions of South Side Story, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our audience. It is our humble effort to bring the south of India to the metros. We believe it is our responsibility to continue bringing the best out of regional spaces. This year too, our vision has been to get the spirit of inclusion and diversity, with all the flavours of South India to the North and West, primarily through music. Listeners from both Delhi and Mumbai have validated our efforts by embracing the need gap of regional music consumption in the cities.

We recently concluded one edition in Mumbai on September 2nd, and we are deeply touched by the immense love the city has shown us, even amidst heavy rainfall on the day of the event. We anticipated (Mumbai edition) and are anticipating (Delhi Edition) a fantastic gathering of music enthusiasts coming together under one roof to sing, dance, and soak in the vibrant spirit of South India in their own city. Our commitment has always been to create an immersive festival experience for our listeners.

On how the earlier four seasons delivered for RedFM

As a NAT-local brand, we never neglect the cultural or local ethos. This commitment inspired the inception of our concept five years ago, where we recognized the importance of introducing regional music to the metros. South Side Story represents our humble endeavor to showcase independent music created in various South Indian languages such as Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and more.

We invest in a number of community-building initiatives and IP. Due to COVID-19, we moved South Side Story online for two years. Last year, we held it in Delhi and the response was so positive that we decided to bring back the festival in Mumbai this year.

The name South Side Story encompasses the whole South Indian experience in three words. It echoes a sense of belonging to the ones whose roots lie down south, while creating an intrigue for those who wish to be a part of the culture. The intent was to create a simple name which retains top of mind recall, while also striking a chord with the younger generation. A story gives the listener an infinite scope of imagination, and likewise this festival also has infinite possibilities, flavors, colors and melodies.

We embarked on this journey with two bands,Thaikkudam Bridge and Agam the Band. However, the overwhelming response led us to include more talented artists. As a result, this season of the festival features a total of 12 artists in Mumbai and Delhi, including the two bands that have been a part for all five seasons i.e Agam and Thaikkudam Bridge

Sometimes, an IP gains popularity simply because it has been around for a while. For instance, if Dugga Dugga (an experiential festival that celebrates Kolkata’s iconic Durga Puja through music) continues for a few more years, it will likely reach the same scale as South Side Story. We embrace and celebrate all cultures, striving to be an inclusive brand that brings people together.

On the selection of artists for the South Side Story

Over the years of hosting South Side Story, we've consistently received suggestions as soon as each edition concludes. The overwhelming love and affection from our audience inspires us to explore and extend opportunities to artists and musicians beyond their regional cities.

On advertisers' interest in an event like this

A wide range of brands from various sectors, including automobile, BFSI and FMCG have been supporting us through multiple IPs that we do through the year. What sets South Side Story apart is its inclusive audience that lacks age restrictions making it an attractive advertising platform. For this year, we have Acko Insurance as the Title Partner and Bank of Maharashtra, Himalaya Wellness Co. (Rumalaya) and ENO as associate partners to name a few.