When around 10,000 music fans from Delhi to Sri Lanka get together at one venue, you know there’s hardly any room for surprise. No doubt, the thousands gathered in Pune to watch The Raghu Dixit Project were soon seen spouting Kannada (a language foreign to most) as the lungi and ghungroo-sporting artiste decided to call upon his audience to sing his upbeat songs. It’s another matter that what emerged was the sort of gibberish ‘Kandisa…’ invites, every time Indian Ocean plays their signature Aramaic song.
Spread across five stages at the 17-acre venue in Magarpatta, the Weekender festival took place from November 18 to 20 and saw an eclectic turnout, including hula-hoop twirling girls at the underground Dub Station, the blue Afro wigs and glow poi jugglers at the electronica hub, Wolves Den. Also seen were longhaired rockers in black tees at Rock Arena and Gandhi topis at the folksy Dewarist and Other Stage. What set this festival apart was the whopping numbers that showed up — some even carrying children in prams.
The multi-genre festival featured debut performances by Grammy award-winner Imogen Heap, UK house act Basement Jaxx and saw local acts like Dixit play some of their newest songs. “It’s by far the most organised festival I’ve seen in India till date. Though it would be nice if they had put up some screens too,” says festival-goer Ram Goswami, who works at an ad agency in Mumbai.
Goswami was one of the few who chose to get inked at the tattoo convention at the music festival where over 10 international tattoo artists came together. “The vibe is so great, I wanted to take it with me,” he adds.
Not all attendees had it so easy though. Some like media marketing executive, Mona Gandhi made the trek to Pune only to return home to Mumbai. “I attended the first day, but arrived around 5.30 on Saturday, only to find out that all tickets were sold out,” she says. The venue ran out of ticket straps that evening. “It wasn’t so bad for me since I had friends in Pune, but the plight of people from Delhi and Bangalore who couldn’t enter made me feel sad,” she says.
The finale of the three-daylong non-stop music event saw all gig-hoppers with bucket-loads of drinks in hand converge for an all-star gig. The finale — where the energy on and off-stage was equally infectious — got an apt end when over 25 artistes hopped on to the stage, set up against the backdrop of a giant ferris wheel.
Curated by Karsh Kale, the show saw artistes swiftly move from ‘Under Pressure…’ to ‘
Thanda, thanda paani
…’ as they played covers and jumped on stage making the audience wonder who was having more fun — them or the musicians!