From metal and world music to psy-trance and Sufi, here’s a guide to some of the most exciting and eclectic music fests coming up
There is something magical about music festivals. From events set in serene locations, but with staggering stage productions, to minimalist camping festivals with a line-up of international and Indian artistes, festival organisers are going all out to create unique experiences. And with the season on till February, the fests (close to 15 of them) go beyond just music—with something for everyone, including flea markets, food stalls and adventure sports. While Supersonic has announced that Canadian electro duo, Zeds Dead, and the British act, Disclosure, are among its line-up, the other Goan behemoth in December, Sunburn, is still finalising theirs. Here’s a guide to the top ones coming up.
— Anoop Menon
Harley Rock Riders, Mumbai
This is where metal meets motorcycles. Through the past five seasons, the Harley Rock Riders has travelled the length and breadth of the country and this year’s two-day event brings a stellar headbanging experience, with metal gods Megadeth and reggae pioneers The Wailers, along with 18 of the best indie acts (including Bombay Basement and Bhayanak Maut). Also, be prepared for a true-blue motorcycle festival experience, featuring a motorcycle build-off competition and a history of Harley-Davidson and Rock music exhibit. October 30-31. Rs.1,000 onwards. Details: harleyrockriders.in
Considered to be India’s largest camping music festival, Bacardi’s Enchanted Valley Carnival returns this year with a call sign to ‘Join the tribe’, at Pune’s Aamby Valley City. With global superstars like Tiesto, Fatboy Slim and Ferry Corsten headlining the event, this multi-genre music festival—with almost half-a-million followers on social media—combines adrenaline-pumping adventure sports and one of the best camping experiences around. From December 18-20. Rs.5,130 onwards. Details: evc.co.in
Sula Fest, Sawargaon
Having sold out last year, expectations surrounding this edition of Sulafest, a ‘gourmet world music festival’ are sky-high (especially since the previous edition featured artistes like Nucleya and Young the Giant). With an excellent selection of wines available at the ‘tasting room’ and curated food stalls at the bazaar, this two-day camping festival is from February 6 to 7. Details: sulafest.net
Imagine spending three nights under the starry skies, amongst the dunes of Thar Desert in Jaisalmer. Known for their left field artiste line-up spread across multiple stages (think new, emerging and experimental musicians, with a focus on Sufi music for the upcoming edition), eco-friendly policies, curio shops, RC planes and camping areas with a space for film screenings, Ragasthan is truly ‘a festival for the crazy in you’. From February 11 – 14. Details: ragasthan.com
NH7 Weekender, Multiple cities
For the past five years, Bacardi NH7 Weekender has been consistently voted by fans as the ‘happiest music festival to be at’. Not just because of its limited tickets policy, wi-fi zones and curated food stalls but because this year, the five-city festival (Shillong, Kolkata, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru) is pulling out all the stops with artistes including AR Rahman, Flying Lotus, English musician Mark Ronson (who’s hit single Uptown Funk has over one billion views on YouTube) being flown in as headliners for its various editions. Today and tomorrow. Rs.1,000 onwards. Details: nh7.in/weekender
RESET, Multiple cities
Stripping away all the excess noise, RESET highlights the bare essentials while reigniting the ‘warehouse techno’ spark in India. Labelling itself as a musical showcase rather than a festival, this multi-city event (namely Pune, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai) is dedicated to promoting upcoming/established home-grown talent (including Arjun Vagale, Kohra and Vinayaka^a) armed with one of the planet’s best sound rigs, Funktion One. At Hyderabad, on October 31.
rs.750. Details: resetindia.com
Magnetic Fields, Alsisar
Magnetic Fields is an independent music festival that has been making waves for the past two years, due to its exotic location (a 17th century Alsisar palace in Rajasthan) and eclectic mix of artistes (from Electronica to regional music). This year, besides a line-up that boasts musicians including HVOB, Shigeto, F16s and a combined electronica showcase of Pakistani and Indian artistes, after parties in palace dungeons and art installations by artists and designers like Himanshu Shani and Mia Morikawa, make the event a definite must-attend. From December 18-20.
Hill Top Festival, Vagator
Considered to be the nation’s best psychedelic trance music festival, Hill Top is nestled amidst a coconut grove atop Vagator beach in Bardez. Poised to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the three-day event will play host to international and home-grown artistes, including Raja Ram, Symbolic, Starling and Outsiders. From February 12-14. Details: facebook.com/HillTopFestival