Pick this picnic

Updated: Feb 17, 2020, 09:23 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

Touted as the city's first ever urban picnic, this weekend event promises a fun-filled day for the entire family

The venue of the event
The venue of the event

Urban spaces in the West are usually so spread out and open that if a family wants to go out for a picnic, they can do so within city premises. People in London, for instance, make a beeline for Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park among others when they get a few days of clear sun in the summer, tanning themselves under the rays, drinking Pimm’s, and munching on sandwiches. Mumbai, alas, doesn’t have that luxury. An overload of concrete monstrosities makes it impossible. But an event this weekend called The Picnic Project, touted as the city’s first ever urban picnic, aims to change that equation with a laid-back day of curated activities at Lower Parel’s High Street Phoenix.

The event will have stalls selling picnic bites

The whole day is spread over two arenas — Universal Square and Festival Square — that measure around 20,000 sq ft and 8,000 sq ft respectively. Pawan Shahri, one of the organisers, tells us that a part of this concrete area has been covered with a grass carpet to make it feel like an actual park. He adds that every single element of the event has been thought of in a way that you’d get the vibe of being at a picnic. He says, “We were clear from the beginning that we didn’t want it to be a food festival. There’s no place to sit, the queues are too long, and the experience is geared too much towards shopping. We instead wanted to create a space where you can lie back, relax and spend a day out with friends and family. So, our event is less commercial and more indie, in the sense that it involves home-grown brands.”

Ice lollies

What you will thus get is an option of stalls selling dishes that are typical to a picnic, such as sandwiches, burgers and barbecues, and eight pop-up bars with a variety of cocktails. There is also a farmers’ market where you can buy organic produce, and Shahri tells us that people can actually buy organic veggies from there, take it to one of the bars, and make their own cocktail with help from a mixologist. “We have also curated a host of games, ones that people wouldn’t have ever played before. And we also have a kids’ play area since we have tried to map out activities for different age groups. So there’s something for everyone, whether you are six years old or 60,” he says.


He adds that people can even get their own picnic baskets filled with goodies from home, and just laze around in the grassy area feasting on them. And the 24x7 nightlife rule introduced recently means that even though the stalls will shut at 1.30 am, patrons can still hang around in the two arenas till 3 am.

The idea is to make this a bi-annual event, with one edition held in the first quarter and another in the last. But Shahri confesses that raising awareness about what this debut event actually involves was a bit problematic. “People have never seen a concept like this, since they are too used to food festivals. But this isn’t a place where you come for one or two hours. Here, you can chill for six or seven,” he says. So, if that sounds like your ideal weekend, grab a basket, fill it with treats, take the children and elderly along, and make your way to a picnic in the heart of Mumbai city.

On February 22 and 23, 12 pm to 1.30 am
At High Street Phoenix, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 150 onwards

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