India has started hosting major music festivals & concerts ranging form underground metal bands to the most popular artists in the world. Here is a list of some of the largest & best festivals that you must attend if you love live music.
1. NH7 Weekender (Pune, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkatta)
If there is a list about music festivals in India, then this one rightfully gets the slot. The NH7 Weekender is a three-day indie music festival was first held in the city of Pune, India.
Martin Elbourne, Vijay Nair and Stephen Budd put on the inaugural edition of the festival from December 10–12 in 2010 at Koregaon Park, Pune. In 2012, the festivals were also held in New Delhi and Bangalore and Kolkata was added in 2013. It is organized by Only Much Louder's festival division and was voted "India's best music festival" by CNNGo in 2011. The festival is sponsored by Bacardi.
The festival started off with a very basic idea that people who love different genres of music or love all can come together at one festival. The driving force behind festival Vijay Nair, believes in providing the best experience for both the fans, and the artists. The festival was also started because of lack Indian festivals that concentrate on non-Bollywood music.
The festival has also seen its share of international performances, some of which include Chase & Status (DJ Set) , Megadeth , Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Benga, MUTEMATH, Simian Mobile Disco, Dry the River, Buraka Som Sistema, NOISIA, Karnivool, Testament, Meshuggah, Textures, Periphery, Michal Menert (Pretty Lights Music), Fink, Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation), Bombay Bicycle Club, TesseracT, Skyharbor, Asian Dub Foundation, Hexstatic, Basement Jaxx (DJ Set), The Magic Numbers, Imogen Heap, and many more.
For more details about the festival, visit - www.nh7.in
2. Bangalore Open Air (Bangalore)
Bangalore Open Air is the first ever festival to take place in India that is pure, 100% Metal. Yes, other festivals do have metal bands, but also have artists from other genres as well. This festival is actually a part of the famous Wacken Open Air that takes place annually in Wacken, Germany. BOA was first held in 2012 which consisted of Indian bands Albatross, Bevar Sea, 1833 AD, Eccentric Pendulum, Kryptos, Theorized and Dying Embrace. Co-headlined by German Folk Metallers, Suidakra and was headlined by the German Thrash giants, Kreator.
The second edition of BOA was supposed to have two Indian acts, Millenium and Demonic Ressurection, however, Millenium pulled out owing to Rohit Chaturvedi's commitment to join Kryptos on their Europe tour. BOA 2013 boasted of big international names such as Animals as Leaders, Ihsahn, Dark Tranquility, Sodom, Leprous and headlined by Iced Earth. Unfortunately Sodom had to cancel their performance due to Visa issues.
BOA is the brainchild of Salman. U. Syed/InfiniteDreamsEntertainment. Before BOA, there wasn't any Music festival in India that would cater only to Heavy Metal.
For more details about the festival, visit - www.bangaloreopenair.com
3. The Escape Festival of Art and Music (Naukuchiatal, UP)
Never heard of this one? Don’t worry; the organizers want it that way. The Escape Festival of Art and Music, as its name suggests, is for people who dig all kinds of art and not only music. “The creative retreat features bands, artists, writers, photographers, painters, graffiti artists, performance artists, tattoo artists and potters in a mélange of talent, a festival camp, a film festival and a flea market, says the organizer, Pothead.
A unique festival started in May 2009 when a few musicians and like-minded people decided to get away from New Delhi for a few days. They chose a picturesque resort at Naukuchiatal, at the foothills of the himalayas which became their Escape.
Escape, has grown since then to become one of India’s foremost outdoor art, music & camping festival.
The Escape Festival of Art and Music, which has established itself in the past four years, is the perfect way to spend some quality time with friends and family. It is also one of the first festivals in the country set around a scenic getaway appealing to young and old alike.
For more details about the festival, visit - www.escapefestival.in
4. Mood Indigo (IIT Mumbai)
Mood Indigo is one of the oldest music festivals held in the country. Mood Indigo, also known as MoodI or MI, is the annual cultural festival of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. It is a four-day long event held towards the end of December every year. Its last edition witnessed a footfall of more than 88,000 students from more than 700 colleges from across the country. Who knew what the IItians started in 1971, Mood Indigo, now in its 43rd edition, would become the largest festival of its kind in Asia.
Mood Indigo with a low budget of INR 5,000, contributed partly by the IIT Bombay Gymkhana and by advertisements. In 1973, it was set up as a student-run non-profit organization. Since then, the students of the institute have been organising the fest, making it completely under the students.
Mood Indigo has had a legacy of organisers that include names like Nandan Nilekani, Adil Zainulbhai, Atul Kanagat, Anand Sivakumaran, Amit Jain, Gautam Kollu and many more.
2008 saw the first international night of Mood Indigo in the form of an Ensiferum concert. In 2009, the renowned band Porcupine Tree came to India for the first time to perform at MI. This edition also showcased Victor Rubilar, French band Moriarty and Swedish performer Meja and is growing ever since.
To know more about the festival, visit -
5. Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav (Pune)
The Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav (formerly known as the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav or simply known as Sawai) is an annual Indian Classical music festival held in Pune since 1953. Arguably the largest, most popular, and sought-after Indian Classical music festival in the world, the festival is hosted by the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal (ASPM) and was initiated by the Late Pt. Bhimsen Joshi as a memorial music conference commemorating the life and work of Pt. Joshi's guru, Pt. Sawai Gandharva alias Rambhau Kundgolkar, the festival's namesake.
While Pt. Joshi was leading the organization of the festival, performing artists received personal invitations from Pt. Joshi to perform at the festival. With an emphasis on Hindustani Classical Khayal music, instrumentalists, dancers, dhrupadiyas, Bhakti musicians, Ghazal musicians, Qawwaliyas, and Carnatic musicians frequent the concert lineup.
A younger artist's debut performance at the festival connotes their "arrival" and promise to the Classical music scene of India (most recently including Rahul Deshpande, Kaushiki Chakrabarty, and Mahesh Kale).
Since its inception, the festival has grown into a prominent cultural soiree for Pune's musical connoisseurs, featuring the foremost musicians of traditional Indian musical forms.
The festival was started in 1953 on a small scale, to commemorate the first death anniversary of Pt. Sawai Gandharva, the acclaimed Hindustani Classical vocalist of the Kirana Gharana.
The festival played a key role in the development of Hindustani Classical music in India's post-independence cultural history. Prior to Indian Independence, Hindustani Classical musicians were supported by monarchs under patronage as court musicians since the beginning of the Mughal Empire. After independence, the political division between India and Pakistan culturally alienated many Hindustani musicians.
The newfound Indian Republic resulted in an end to the patronage of musicians. Classical musicians were forced to find new methods of sustaining themselves and their art. Public performances of Classical musicians rose as a result, where the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival played an integral role in establishing a regional audience for Indian Classical music. Within the first several decades following Indian Independence, a great number of music festivals or music conferences were founded in order to provide a platform for Classical musicians worldwide.
6. Rajasthan International Folk Festival (Jodhpur)
Rajasthan International Folk Festival (or Jodhpur RIFF or Jodhpur folk festival) is an annual music and art festival organized to promote traditional folk music and arts held at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
The festival was first organized as a not-for-profit partnership between Mehrangarh Museum Trust and Jaipur Virasat Foundation in October 2007. The festival is timed to match day of full moon of the year (which in Northern India is also known as Sharad Purnima). The chief patron of the festival is Maharaja Gaj Singh. The festival is organized in and around Mehrangarh Fort.
The festival is planned to provide an open stage to all folk artists and musicians from India as well as from the globe. Around 250 musicians and artists from Rajasthan and elsewhere attend this festival. The festival is supported by UNESCO as a "People's Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development". In 2012 and 2013, Songlines regarded RIFF as one of the best 25 international festivals.
The theme of 2013 edition of the festival the was ancient history of the Mehrangarh Fort which was selected as Asia's best fortress by Time. The year's featured performances include Afghani rubab player Daud Khan Sadozai, sessions on the culture of Manganiar of Marwar, the Rajasthani artists with Dilshad Khan, and Manu Chao.
For more details of the festival, visit -
7. Sunburn Festival (Candolim, Goa)
Sunburn is an electronic dance music Festival held at Candolim Beach, Goa, India every year. The festival is an amalgamation of Music, Entertainment, Food and Shopping, and was ranked by CNN in 2009 as the 9th Best Festival in the World.
The Festival is organized by Percept, an Entertainment, Media and Communications company of India. Spread over 3 days, the festival has multiple stages with artists playing simultaneously.
It all started in 2007 when Percept partnered with Nikhil Chinapa and organized the first International Dance Music Festival in Goa, India.
Sunburn Goa 2007 was sponsored by Smirnoff and took place on 28–29 December at Candolim beach.
In its first year Sunburn included performances from Carl Cox, Above & Beyond and Axwell as headline acts. Other acts included John 00 Fleming, Pete Gooding, DJ Pearl, Jalebee Cartel, Super 8 & Tab, held on two stages with DJs playing simultaneously.
To know more about the festival, visit - www.sunburn.in
8. Summer Storm Festival (Bangalore)
Summer Storm Festival is an annual music festival which takes place in Bangalore, India at the Palace Grounds. The inaugural edition of the Festival was held on 15 May 2010, headlined by American Metal band Lamb Of God.
A number of Indian opening and support bands were also part of the event. In 2012, The festival hosted Opeth, The progressive death giants from Sewden
The Summer Storm Festival promises to be in the same manner, that of the Deccan Rock festival.
The festival promotes both Hard Rock and Metal acts and does not bow to commercial or corporate pressures to host pop or radio friendly acts performing.
It is regarded as one of the big metal festivals in the country, with thousands of metal fans from across India and abroad coming down to witness the event in the city of Bangalore every summer. This is surely the place to be if you love moshing, headbanging and crowd surfing.
9. Hornbill International Festival (Kohima, Nagaland)
Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases a melange of cultural displays under one roof. This festival usually takes place between the 1st and the 7th of December every year in Kohima.
The Hornbill International Rock Contest and music festival may well be the longest music event in the country. Attractive cash prizes and music loving crowd makes the event a unique experience for the performers.
The Festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, the large and colourful forest bird which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes.
The week long festival unites one and all in Nagaland.
The festival is marked by feasts, dances, games and music, all in full measure. Nagas do not do things in small instalments. The annual Hornbill Festival, and therefore the Hornbill International Rock Contest, being organized by the government is a great deal for the youth of Nagaland.
Over the years, there have been some great performances by bands from all over the country. The very fact that a band is selected to perform at the event is an achievement.
To know more about the festival, visit - www.hornbillfestival.com
10. Mahindra Blues Festival (Mumbai)
For a fest that caters only to a niche musical genre, the Mahindra Blues Festival (MBF) pulls in quite a crowd. Having hosted two successful editions in the past, the fest has already established itself as the annual, one-stop destination for blues fans from across the country.
Undoubtedly, the impressive international line-up has as much to do with its popularity as its smooth organisation.
The entertaining headlining acts by blues legend Buddy Guy in the past two years that made the fest worth the money.
This festival has an elitist approach as compared to the other festivals in the country which thrive on youngsters. MBF is more about the rich, classy fans who would pay for one bluesy weekend.
The MBF also attracts celebrities from various other fields as their guests.
This year's edition is to be held in Mehboob Studio, Mumbai.
To know more about the festival, visit - www.mahindra.com
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