Bright-colored clothes, hot beats, guest appearances – no, it’s not a hip-hop record premiere party. This is Bhangra Blowout, the 15-year-old brainchild of GW’s South Asian Society.
Fourteen years ago, the student group hosted its first Bhangra Blowout – a celebration of percussive music and dancing based on classical Indian music- in a small cafeteria on campus. Over the years, the celebration has expanded to bigger and better venues as the popularity of the event has increased, moving from the small cafeteria in 1994 to one of Washington D.C.’s most esteemed entertainment venues for this year’s celebration – D.A.R. Constitution Hall (1776 D St. N.W.) on Saturday.
“Each year, the event attracts more and more spectators from across the nation,” said Sonia Mehta, public relations director of South Asian Society in an e-mail. “In order to accommodate the high demand, we have moved Bhangra Blowout to D.A.R. Constitution Hall, which can seat 4,000 people.” Mehta added that this year’s blowout was expected to sell out.
As the first student organization to ever organize a South Asian dance competition in America, the group pledges proceeds from each Bhangra Blowout to a charity of their choice. This year, the group chose Kashmir Corps, a charity that seeks to bring about positive changes in the Kashmir region.
One highlight of the event are the other college Bhangra groups that are invited to come to D.C. to perform in the South Asian dance competition that features high-energy dancing from India and Pakistan. Representing GW, the 16-member GW Bhangra team will be performing as an exhibition act this year.
“The annual family event will be the buzz of the season,” Mehta said. “Expect a bigger show, a classy atmosphere and impressive acts by South Asian superstars RDB and K.S. Makhan.”
In addition to the event at D.A.R. Constitution Hall, the South Asian Society will also be holding a free block party in University Yard the day of the concert from 12:00-4:00 p.m. with Punjabi sensations G-Deep and Bikram Singh. The party will feature a Vaisakhi theme – an ancient harvest festival in Punjab marking the beginning of a new harvest season – and will have free food, games, dancing and giveaways.
Tickets to Bhangra Blowout XV range from $29.99 to $45.00 and can be purchased from Ticketmaster or the D.A.R. Constitution Hall box office. The event begins at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 12th. For more information visit http://bhangrablowout.com
This article appeared in the April 10, 2008 issue of the Hatchet.