This week’s cover story is about India’s burgeoning indie music scene. If you’re game for some true indie flavour, head to these four lesser-known music festivals (even if it means rescheduling your gig calendar)Shine A Light Festival (SLF)
WHERE: Sohra, Cherrapunji; WHEN: Dec 14-15, 2015
Of all the things SLF has gained since its inception last year is the obscurity of being truly indie: no sponsors, no glossy backdrops on stage, no highly prized tickets. The first chapter featured only bands from the Northeast, and so became the region’s first organic festival. Pack your bags – and an umbrella – and head to one of the earth’s rainiest places.
WHERE: Shantiniketan, West Bengal; WHEN: usually around Dec 23, 2015
Because "indie" is not confined to electronic guitars and turntables, this is a peek into the rich heritage of Bengal in particular and India in general. Most notably, Baul music – an eclectic blend of folk songs relating to the Bhakti movement. Indian Surf Festival (ISF)
WHERE: Ramchandi Beach, Odisha; WHEN: first week of Feb 2016
Not just for the music, but also to simultaneously bask in the sun at a serene beach, go surfing and kite surfing, and for water yoga. Musically, its last two chapters featured some of the country’s best less-known acts like Thaalavatam and Sitarsonic.
Mahindra Blues Festival
WHERE: Mehboob Studios, Mumbai; WHEN: second week of February, 2016
The only reason this indoor festival is on this list is because it focuses on a genre of music which is slowly fading away from festivals’ radars: Blues. It’s no-nonsense, and focuses only on best-known practitioners of Blues music. If names like Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Lil’ Ed can’t pull you to a concert, we wonder who will!
From HT Brunch, September 20
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