There’s a sort of liminal charm to music festivals. Most require you to pack up your fringed vests and vinyls and head across the country into the mountains or the desert sands for a mini-holiday of punk-ass beats and electric crowds. Or smooth riffs and night skies. Or the thadaak-thadak of the dholak and the warm glow of a bonfire. Whichever festival you choose, you know you’re in it for the atmosphere. You can meet your friends in the bar behind your house, explore new music as you chug along to your day job. But the spirit of a music festival, be it blues, folk, rock and roll or multi-stage, starry-billed, commercially-endorsed madness, is a release. So fill up the wheelie-case, put on your earphones and catch a cab, February’s got plans for you.
Wine-tasting, grape-stomping,crowd-surfing. Goes well together don’t you think. Set in the country’s largest vineyard with varied artists producing myriad sounds, it’s a great way to celebrate the harvest of our most beloved wine-ingredient.
On-site camping in swanky Swiss tents, paintballing, zorbing, hot-air ballooning, larger than life interactive art installations are just the bonuses. Come and stay for the spine-tingling folk music and the bass-thumping techno. Artists, filmmakers and musicians come together for a weekend of self, proclaimed craziness, a little Indian Burning Man, if you will. Don’t miss it.
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
While the shopping section pulls in the crowds, it’s the cultural shows you really take home with you. Classic Dance on makeshift stages under the heavy boughs of Horniman Circle Gardens, power-packed rock gigs on the steps of the imposing Asiatic Library, book-readings in the tome-lined Kitab Khana, street plays in the well, street. Scour the schedule and don’t feel afraid to try something you’ve never heard of before. Entry is free to all.
Hill Top Music Festival
The ultimate party for those that can’t wait until December’s Sunburn. Lounge on the warm Goan beaches all morning before descending into psy-trance madness post three, to be continued until your back dozing on the beach, trapped in the most cathartic party cycle of your life.
Mahindra Blues Festival
Let your soul drift back to the era of whiskey crooners and pomaded coiffs with Bandra’s Mahindra Blues Festival. Big names from the global scene top the bill, but supported by a host of brilliant local bands. Set in the arms of the gentle sea breeze, join the crowd and become part of the communal sway.