If last year’s edition promised and delivered a stunning and spacious venue — with water bodies and an island — this season, NH7 Weekender let us down with a
set-up that seemed too compact for the large number of attendees. And this was only the first day. The fact that only three out of the
six stages were functional caused the mass influx of people into ‘The Dewarists’ stage area that seemed too full, almost to the point of resembling a flea market.
Among all the acts on that stage, Mumbai’s crowd favourite blues-rock band Blackstratblues stole the show with its consistently prodigious compositions. Karsh Kale and Kolkata-based multi-instrumentalist Tajdar Junaid made a surprise appearance with the band. Veteran folk-rockers Indian Ocean played the final set to a cheering crowd. On the ‘Other Stage’, Sky Rabbit frontman Raxit Tewari’s solo act, Your Chin pulled in quite a crowd. Ankur Tewari’s acoustic set, which featured him accompanied by an accordion player disappointed us. He stuck to his popular hits like ‘Chand chahiye’ and ‘Mohabbat zindabad’ but there was a hint of unpreparedness that showed through this act.
The Dub Station — which had a dingy, underground feel, what with walls of graffiti and a condensed area — was the one place towards which most of the under-21 folks gravitated. The finale act by Reggae Rajahs wasn’t the best we’ve seen from the band, but it kept the crowd shaking to its beat. Many people we met — both veteran festival-goers and first-time attendees — complained that the event lacked the ‘festival vibe’. We hope for a better experience today.