Sunny Dhaliwal suspected the event would be a success, but community support Salmon Arm’s inaugural Bollywood Bang well exceeded expectations.
On Monday morning, Feb. 3, Dhaliwal and fellow Bollywood Bang organizers gathered near the ER waiting room in Shuswap Lake General Hospital with representatives from the Shuswap Hospital Foundation. The occasion: a donation of $46,307 – funds raised from the Oct. 5, 2019 event – made to the foundation. In return, a spot for Bollywood Bang on the foundation’s donor appreciation wall.
Monday’s donation was a follow up to the $109,000 donated to the foundation at the event.
“That’s the largest amount of money we’ve ever had raised at one single event,” said foundation development director Fiona Harris. “It was massive for the foundation and the difference it will make will be very significant. We know we’ve got some significant equipment needs coming up in the next year, so to have this kind of donation is incredible.”
Dhaliwal too was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who donated.
“The total raised, $188,000, was way above our expectations and we hope to do it again and do it even bigger,” said Dhaliwal.
If you were unable to get at ticket to the Bollywood Bang, or didn’t learn about it after the fact, you’re not alone. The 330-person event sold out within 24 hours. Dhaliwal thought it would, as his cousin has organized similarly successful events in Vernon.
“I just had a good feeling it would work in Salmon Arm and it definitely did,” said Dhaliwal. “I was sitting down with Mark Schneider and we just decided one day, we’re just going to do it.”
Dhaliwal likened the evening to an Indian wedding, with fancy dress and decorations, a catered feast and music into the early morning hours.
“We really made it feel like a gala event,” said Dhaliwal. “Everybody dressed up in Indian clothes… I’d say probably about 75 per cent of the people were dressed up.
“We had photo booths set up, tons of food, all the catering was done by Namaste, and he did an amazing job for that amount of people… We had dancers, we had performances, we had a DJ from Vancouver with a lightshow, a huge video screen that made it into a dance party that went to two in the morning.”
Schneider and Dhaliwal credited the different community businesses and groups got on board with the event from the get-go to make it happen. Among them, Dan Morin and Salmon Arm’s Daybreak Rotary Club.
“We couldn’t have put it together without them,” said Schneider.
Plans are now in the works for the second Bollywood Bang, to take place in the first week of October 2020. And, with the success of last year’s event in terms of donations, there is now a goal: to raise $1 million dollars in however long it takes, with the majority going to the hospital foundation.
“Everybody that lives in Salmon Arm at one time will use the hospital,” said Dhaliwal, who sits on the hospital foundation board. “We’re just really impressed with the facility. We always think we get the best service, when we go worldwide and travel anywhere, it is one of the best in the world you can have, so anything we can do to help.
“And the money stays right in Salmon Arm – that’s the biggest thing. Anything that goes to the foundation, stays to meet Salmon Arm needs.”