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Be There Or Be Square: Your Must-Attend Music Festivals

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By the time we get to the last quarter of the year, it’s not just the holidays that everyone’s looking forward. The country’s music festival game is solid enough to get teens to pool in their pocket money and adults to fill in those leave applications (or make up an excuse) faster than you can say Ankur And The Ghalat Family.

Here’s where you need to be for making your bros appropriately jealous between October and December this year in India.


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Courtesy: Grapevine

Bacardi NH7 Weekender

The 7th edition of India’s best-known music festival might have pissed off entire cities — Bengaluru and New Delhi — by skipping them this year, but now they have three festivals over three months. DOPE.

Shillong – October 21-22

The North-East has already proven its love for the festival. So in their second edition in Shillong, Weekender has set up a varied lineup that’s not just about the metal. Sure, they’ve got mind-bending groove/tech monsters Undying Inc., and local boys Aberrant, but there’s the exquisitely sad UK progressive rock artist Steven Wilson and the somewhat confusing addition of American rock band Vertical Horizon (remember that one song, Everything You Want?) that makes for a varied lineup.

Hyderabad – November 5-6

Just like Shillong was a new stop on the itinerary last year, Weekender has picked Hyderabad over Bengaluru this time, for whatever reason (*cough* low ticket sales *cough*). And with a new city, the festival feels obliged to present a foundation course sort of lineup, featuring UK rock band Dinosaur Pile-Up (rumoured to perform with actor/singer Shruti Hassan), Nucleya, Vir Das’ Alien Chutney, Indian Ocean, and more festival regulars.

Pune – December 2-4

Weekender bossman Vijay Nair said they’ve outgrown their previous venue, so if you want to expect something from the 3-day edition, it’s best to pray that you have elbow room and can walk around without running into some drunk teen or the other. That said, they’re bringing Steven Wilson (easily the most melancholic headliner to play at what’s dubbed India’s Happiest Festival), Swedish troubadour Jose Gonzalez, veteran hip hop DJ Premier, Shankar Mahadevan, prog metal band Skyharbor, and more. Yes­­, there’s pretty much something for everyone.

For details, log on to: NH7-Weekender


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Courtesy: Barmer Boys

Rock Utsav

For all the talk about how exclusively classical-leaning and snobby one of Mumbai’s best-known concert halls has been over the years, Shanmukhananda Hall is finally giving Indie a chance. They’ve lined up for bands to perform special sets as part of a series called Rock Utsav, which features the hilarious parody rock of Live Banned, the Rajasthani folk of the Barmer Boys Jams, Carnatic progressive rockers Agam, and one of India’s most dependable arena rock acts, Bengaluru-based fusion band Lagori. We’d be surprised if you’ll obediently sit in your seats for this one.

Shanmukhananda Hall, Mumbai — November 5-8
For details, log on to: Rock Utsav 


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Courtesy: Electric Daisy Carnival

Electric Daisy Carnival

If Weekender wasn’t enough, parent company Only Much Louder (OML) has got their sights on the pill-popping, handheart-making, flower-crown-wearing EDM junta this year, by bringing the mighty Electric Daisy Carnival to India. They’ve got headliners like Alesso and Afrojack, while also throwing in trance mainstays like Dreamstate and party animal (and part-time DJ, when he’s not throwing cakes into the crowd) Steve Aoki to the mix. You’ve been warned.

Buddh International Circuit, Noida — November 12-13
For details, log on to: Electric Daisy Carnival



Courtesy: Global Citizen Festival India

Global Citizen Festival India

We get it, it’s a lot of Bollywood actors and a lot of plebs just asking for Paradise or Yellow (or worse, Hymn For The Weekend). Even then, the first edition of the Global Citizen Festival in India has Coldplay and Jay-Z. You know you want to just them. After all, it’ll be something you can talk about for years to come, because it’s going to be one of India’s most memorable live concerts ever.

MMRDA Grounds, Mumbai — November 19
For details, log on to: Global Citizen Festival India



Courtesy: Magnetic Fields Festival

Magnetic Fields Festival

It’s an escapist’s perfect environment, even when you’re within the royal Alsisar Mahal. There’s always the best in cutting-edge electronic music performing at Magnetic Fields Festival. They’ve got a DJ set from UK-based Floating Points, Japanese producer Daisuke Tanabe (a real heartthrob in hipster electronic music circles) and singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad and psychedelic rock band Begum, to mellow things out.

Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan — December 9-11
For details, log on to: Magnetic Fields Festival


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Courtesy: Enchanted Valley Carnival

Enchanted Valley Carnival

This is where it gets tricky. Electric Daisy’s already getting the first-movers advantage by holding an EDM festival in November, when the gigantic Supersonic and Sunburn take place only in December, but then there’s the Enchanted Valley Carnival. There’s an eclectic lineup from the Top 40 bangers of Flo Rida to the Bollywood rock arena of Farhan Akhtar and Arijit Singh, as well as EDM producer Alan Walker. There are probably tons of other big names from the pop, electronic, and rock scene that will show up to Lonavala, of all the places.

Aamby Valley City, Lonavala, December 17-18
For details, log on to: Enchanted Valley


Anurag is a Bangalore-based music journalist who spends his time looking for great music and rare Pokémon.

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