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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Blues festival: A new echo in the hills

Archna Matharu, Hindustan Times   April 08, 2012
First Published: 17:58 IST(8/4/2012) | Last Updated: 18:07 IST(8/4/2012)

Beautiful mountains, lush green surroundings and cool fresh breeze carrying tunes of music. Seems like a picture perfect setting away from the mad rush of cities.

Himachal Pradesh has been at the centre of such soulful musical activity of late, with Gurgaon-based Genesis Foundation having organised The Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival 2012 at Baikunth Resorts in Kasauli from April 6 to 8; and retail brand Happily Unmarried having held its trademark music fest, Music in the Hills, at Koti Resort near Shimla on April 6 and 7.

While mountains have always been the centre of leisurely pursuits with their picturesque ambience, they are now coming up on the music map of the country in a big way, giving competition to previous jamming sites such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

"The scenario has changed in the last eight months to one year. Earlier, the events that were held here were on a smaller scale. But this is the first time that such a big event is taking place at Kasauli," says Karan Jolly, the CEO of Baikunth Resorts.

Not only are these festivals getting a good crowd from across the country, the best of music bands are also coming to perform at these venues. For instance, Rhythm and Blues saw eight bands perform in two days, which included the likes of Raghu Dixit Project, Parikrama, Advaita, Shaa'ir &Func, Pragnya Wakhlu, Adil n Vasundhara, Sonam Kalra and Lawrence School Sanawar's band, Absolute. Then there was the line up at Music in the Hills, which included Soulmate, Mob Marley, Hari & Sukhmani, Bobby Cash, Harpreet & a jam session by Valentine Shipley.

Nature's bounty has a big role to play in deciding the venue of such activities, as is confirmed by Prema Sagar, founder trustee of Genesis Foundation, who says, "Hills offer the best ambience to enjoy music. The weather is great, so people can come with their families and enjoy a long weekend."

Besides great music, these music festivals also offer motivation to the visitors to pitch in for the various causes taken up by the organisers. The Kasauli festival was entirely a fund-raising event, an effort to help fifteen critically ill children in getting medical treatment.

And the visitors were exuberant at the camaraderie they got to share with fellow music lovers in the lap of nature, as they made friends, played board games in the afternoon and shared drinks.
It is not just the audiences. Even the artistes performing at the events love it in the hills.

"One always wants to get away from the pubs and perform. It is so good to be away from the city noise and rejuvenate in the hills," says Anindo Bose, a member of Advaita band that performed at the Kasauli fest.

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