Rock on, Mumbai: I Rock will be back in Nov, with some old favourites

Published on Sep 08, 2022 12:24 AM IST

The festival’s founder Farhad Wadia said he has been fielding numerous queries from bands seeking a spot on the stage, ever since the revival of the festival was announced on social media

The recent announcement of the festival being revived, after it was unceremoniously called off in 2013, has brought cheer to rock fans everywhere (Hindustan Times)
The recent announcement of the festival being revived, after it was unceremoniously called off in 2013, has brought cheer to rock fans everywhere (Hindustan Times)
ByAnindita Paul

MumbaiThe iconic Independence Rock music festival (or I-Rock as it was popularly known) is all set to make a comeback in Mumbai after nearly a decade. The recent announcement of the festival being revived, after it was unceremoniously called off in 2013, has brought cheer to rock fans everywhere. The festival will be back in November with even more fervour, headlined by some of the biggest names in the Indian rock circuit. It will be staged at a trendy South Mumbai venue - Bayview Lawns in Princess Dock, Mazagaon, on November 5 and 6.

The festival’s founder Farhad Wadia said he has been fielding numerous queries from bands seeking a spot on the stage, ever since the revival of the festival was announced on social media. “Even after moving to the US eight years ago, it was always my intention to come back and do this annually. I was approached by VG Jairam of Hyperlink Brand Solutions, who is the founder of some iconic festivals in India such as the Mahindra Blues Festival, who evinced an interest in bringing back Independence Rock. I was convinced that they would do a fantastic job and a week later, we signed up with them,” he said. Expressing his conviction that this festival is only the start of bigger things to come, he added, “The beauty of live performances is that every one of them is unique and special in their own way. I believe that the growing popularity of music festivals is only proof of that.”

Browse through the festival’s line-up and a few familiar names immediately stand out. One of these is Parikrama, a band that was almost synonymous with I Rock in the festival’s glory days. “When our lead guitarist Sonam Sherpa passed away in February 2020, the rest of the band decided to take a break. We refused many gigs in this duration, coming back only when we heard about I Rock. That’s how much the festival means to us,” shared Subir Malik, founder and organist of Parikrama.

Noting the increasing interest in attending music festivals, especially among Gen Z listeners, he added that for many, this might be their first introduction to new music and new bands, which bodes well for the rock scene. “The younger generation is more accustomed to synthesiser-based music as opposed to guitar-based music, which is what rock music is all about. In fact, in the 90s and the early 2000s, Parikrama was playing at up to 100 campuses a year. Today, that number is down to nearly zero. Even landmark rock music-based festivals, such as the one hosted by IIT Bombay, have been slowly moving away from rock. The buzz around this festival may thus be a much-needed shot in the arm for indie musicians from across the country,” he added.

Rex Vijayan, co-founder and guitarist for the alternative Malayali rock band Avial, said, “For many younger bands, the revival of I Rock will give an opportunity to share the stage with artistes and bands we have grown up listening to and admired over the years, such as Parikrama and Pentagram. We hope that, like us, newer generations of listeners will realise and appreciate the enormous home-grown talent we have in our own country.”

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