With India’s festival scene growing steadily, it’s time that a few special kinds of festivals made their foray into the country. The Sherp picks the most potent ones.

There has never been a better time for unique and quirky festivals to debut in India, what with the successful run of festivals like Nariyal Paani, Bombay Local, Lost Party and Magnetic Fields Festival even as the old guns like Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Sunburn, Supersonic, and Ziro Festival of Music continued their good run. With an audience that is not just culturally more aware, but craving for new forms of entertainment, it’s time that some globally popular concepts made their way into the Indian festival scene.

We pick the ones with the most potential to strike gold here.

1. A transformational festival like Lightning in a Bottle

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. If there truly is a country that a transformational festival will do most well in, it would be India. For it is the land of yoga and mindful living. And if such a festival were to make a headstart, we hope it’s emulative of the same spirit strengthening Lightning in a Bottle. The festival is most famous for its Temple of Consciousness, a visceral space with meditative activities, where artists speak and perform to a host of spiritual ideas, and where dance and music is used sacrosanct with the healing process. That, alone, with the festival’s many yoga sessions would never seem out of place in an Indian setting.

Aaron G(Source: Aaron Gautschi | Lightning in a Bottle Facebook)

2. A nature-inclusive festival like Wilderness Festival

A getaway that would take you to the roots, Wilderness Festival is a bohemian soirée for all free spirits, with skinny dipping, masquerade balls and enchanting afternoons in the sun. Priding itself on being a true homage to the world of green as we know it, a festival respectful of nature as such would be absolutely welcome in a country like India. Given the country’s expansive landscape that covers many a natural habitat, the festival will have us Indians not just celebrating our greenery, but perhaps respecting it too.


fri-15-Wldnss14-JennaFoxton-2156-1000x667(Source: Jenna Foxton | wildernessfestival.com)

3. A city-spanning genre-based mega event like Amsterdam Dance Event

Amsterdam Dance Event is a globally-affecting conference that converts that always picturesque city of Amsterdam into an electronic music haven, to the delight of dance music connoisseurs who throng to it from around the world. From workshops to performances, from tech reviews to discussions about on-going trends, the festival aims to cover the start and end-all of everything that has anything to do with the world of electronic music, and thus has significant impact on its culture. In addition to that, it also, creatively utilises the city’s urban space to quixotic levels. A festival with a great cultural significance as such is what India’s thriving music scene needs, and for which, one of the country’s many globally fitting cities could be reconvened to popular benefit.

Lumen Lineas 3

(Source: Lumen Lineas | Hospitalitydnb Facebook)

4. A counter-culture festival like Burning Man

Need we really explain this? Burning Man has become eponymous with the counter culture movement, at least whatever little of it is left in the space of thriving consumerism. Inclusion of radical self expression is Burning Man’s token mantra and a festival as such is urgently needed in India. It’s time we celebrated the best of India’s cultural anarchy, especially given the recent conversations centred around censorship and tolerance. A festival that portrays inclusiveness as much as Burning Man would be truly welcome.


burning man Jim Urquhart-Reuters7
(Source: Jim Urquhart | Reuters)

5. A thorough science fiction festival like the Star Wars Celebration

India loves its Star Wars, as was witnessed with the reception received by Star Wars : The Force Awakens, and a way to appease the country’s population of Star Wars fans is the famous Star Wars Celebration. The event, held to commemorate the release of every Stars Movie movie sees attendance from fans of the franchise from around the world, and we truly believe India needs its own special edition.

ay115012348actors-pose-in(Source: Star Wars Celebration Webpage)

6. A food-based music festival like Sweetlife 

India’s gastronomical palette is astoundingly diverse, much like everything about the country, including its music. And we’re in dire need of a festival that gives us both in equal measure. Sweetlife Festival, organised by the much loved food chain Sweetgreen, is an event that brings together healthy delectable food, in tandem with music by acts such as Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Calvin Harris and Pixies, and manages to not compromise on either.

Sweetlife 3

(Sweetlife Facebook)

7. An audio-visual spectacle like Nuits Sonores

Nuits Sonores, that can be safely translated to ‘sounds of the night’ caters to itself by combining sound with the visual stand out elements of the night. It brings together audio and visual art, almost transforming the city of Lyon where it’s held. With acts like Jon Hopkins, Jamie XX, Daniel Avery and Ben Klock, the festival goes out to the people in the form of city based visual art. A concept such as this has the power to absolutely convert our inert modules into thriving spaces of aural and visual propensity. And to be honest, we can almost imagine this city fitting in perfectly well with the vibe of a city like Bangalore.

Brice Robert Photographe

Brice Robert Photographe 2
(Source: Brice Robert Photographe | Nuits Sonores Facebook)

8. A festival that celebrates the arts like SXSW

SXSW, since its inception, has been one of America’s most respected art festivals, given its dedication to cinema, theatre and independent music. The festival has with dedication furthered independent art in the most glorious fashion. And if there’s a festival India’s upcoming independent scene needs, it’s one as such. In fact, every emerging cultural space needs an SXSW festival of its own, for artistic and consumer integration.

john rogers(Source: John Rogers)

9. A cruise festival like Holy Ship

We have our share of electronic music festivals. We also have our share of popular sea-facing beach electronic music festivals. What we don’t have is an electronic music festival atop a ship. Yes, it’s time a cruise music festival such as Holy Ship came to India, for India’s love for dance music has never been greater. And given the number of ports that line India’s jutting peninsula, a cruise festival would seamlessly find itself many takers.


(Source: Holy Ship Facebook)

10. A costume-based music festival like Bestival

India’s love for costumes is not undocumented given the number of performances and stage shows that take place throughout. Allowing adults to funk it up in the most creative manner is Bestival, which provides music of not just the most superior kind, but is as equally well known for its grand costume parades which sees attendees dress up in the most elaborate wear as one as ever witnessed.

bestival2-1000x667(Source: Bestival Toronto Facebook)