Chandigarh's first music fest a huge success despite heavy rains

  • Oindrila Mukherjee, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2015 10:37 IST

When the Rain God wills, we have no choice but to comply. But the show must go on. The organisers of Kingdom Come, Chandigarh’s first music festival, quickly regrouped to give the festival crowd a taste of the tricity’s music scene like never before as heavy rains lashed Dharampur all through the morning of the first day (Friday) of the event held at Surya Rockrose Resort.

With popular Delhi-based rock band Parikrama set to headline the event, the delay caused by the shower did not really deter the tricity’s music lovers from driving up to the foggy hills to take part in a one-of-a-kind event that also brought a host of local talent together on one stage.

Local talent delights

The show finally rolled out with youngsters from the Bridge Music Academy taking to the stage to play covers by popular British band Coldplay. The talented bunch of kids stood out with their performances of the band’s most loved tracks like ‘Yellow’ and ‘Viva La Vida’.

Sahil Samuel of The Sahil Project croons for the crowd. (Gurminder Singh/HT)

From a sleepy start, the atmosphere took on a different note as the music did all the talking and bands like The Himalayan Routes and The Sahil Project took to the stage to perform for the crowd that started increasing in numbers as the evening wore by.

For tricity that mostly thrives on the local gig scene at popular pubs and bars, organiser Gurasees Gill wanted to bring something different to the table. “We have to go all the way to Delhi to listen to concerts (even by big Indian bands) or other destinations to enjoy a music fest, so I thought why not start with a festival near here that not only promotes local artistes but can also have at least one or two bands popular in the national music circuit. I am looking at another two to three years for this to consolidate into something more substantial.”

Another music festival that is a huge crowd-puller in the region is the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival. About that, Gurasees said, “Well, it has been around for quite some time but the crowd that the Rhythm and Blues fest attracts is slightly older. The average age would be 35. Over here, the average age as you can see is 25. So, we wanted to do something that the youth identifies with.”

It was also a great opportunity for local bands to play alongside a widely respected and experienced band such as Parikrama. “It was a great experience to open for Parikrama. And the energy at the venue was great. Events such as these will help promote the local music scene at a non-commercial level because it is very commercial in Chandigarh otherwise,” says 22-year-old Sahil Samuel, lead vocalist of The Sahil Project. Sahil performed along with bandmates Andrew (lead guitar), Abhishek Thakur (bass guitar) and Donald (drums).

The headliners

Delhi-based band Parikrama performing at Chandigarh's first music fest. (Gurminder Singh/HT)

The big moment arrived at last when Parikrama took to the stage with all their paraphernalia in tow. The rock veterans, who took 45 minutes for the sound check, made it worth the wait as they performed 13 of their most popular originals.

“Thought I’d risen from a slumber/As I fathom the spell I’m under… Am I dreaming? Am I dreaming?” The lyrics seemed to fit right in as the band kickstarted their performance with one of their most popular songs, drawing the crowd in to sway with the music. With occasional head banging spotted here and there in the crowd, the electric energy of the musicians on the stage only amplified the atmosphere as their expert violinist Imran Khan joined in for the solo towards the end of the song. Following it up with high energy tracks like ‘Vapourize’ and ‘Sweet Ass Sugar’, the band ended on a dreamy and poignant note with their signature original ‘But It Rained’, invoking the Rain God to bless the night with a light drizzle.

The band, known for its easy-going attitude towards the audience, also obliged the crowd by performing a few lines of Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ in their own unique way.

“…I look wonderful bald tonight,” rued lead vocalist Nitin Malik, who finished the act by throwing a few ‘Parikrama’ T-shirts into the crowd, promising to visit again.The night came to a close with The Street Jammers belting out crowd favourites like ‘Sayonee’ and ‘Jugni’. Their lead vocalist Vijay Kumar said, “Our performance was more to pep up the crowd after the heavy rock performance. So people could end the night dancing and singing under the stars. The crowd was very obliging and I hope Chandigarh can keep up the good work with more such events in the future.”

Read: "With music, you never know when time passes by"

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