Amidst the colourful culture of India, thrive these scenic festivals, waiting to be explored. Unleash the vagabond in you.
Victorinox’s riveting contest which gives the winner a travel opportunity to wherever they want to go, led us to thinking about the Indian music festivals we would cross seven seas for. (You can sign up for the contest here!) With its diverse culture and simplicity, not only is India a traveler’s paradise, but also a festival enthusiast’s sanctuary. From the quaint hills of Shillong to the vast deserts of Jaisalmair, there’s much to explore for a keen adventurer. Here’s a collection of diverse Indian festivals that are definitely worth traveling to.
1. Ziro Festival
Where: Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Ziro Festival is one of the most organic and authentic festivals India has cultivated. It is set in the quaint and picturesque Ziro valley in Arunachal Pradesh – home to the Apatani community, an agrarian tribe whose relationship with nature is tender and loving. In three years, the festival has been as much about indie music as it has been about the Apatani valley and the people indigenous to it. Local dance and music go hand in hand with bigger artistes; a curious and happy mix, if you will.
(Image: Ziro Festival Facebook)
2. Bacardi NH7 Weekender
Where: Shillong, Meghalaya
NH7 Weekender pegs itself as the happiest music festival, and for those who have an unquenchable wanderlust, indeed, it is. Colourful, diverse and with something for everybody, it’s no wonder why the Bacardi NH7 Weekender is one of the most popular fests in the country. After its inception in 2010, the festival has received immense appreciation for being the biggest platform for Indian independent music and artists, thus bringing together and cultivating a thriving indie culture in the country today.
3. Magnetic Fields
Where: Alsisar, Rajasthan
One of the most scenic desert/boutique festival in India, Magnetic Fields has created a unique space in the Indian festival sphere for itself. Set in a gorgeous Mahal in Rajasthan, this small (first time) & yet undeniably eclectic music festival captured the hearts of all who attended and were part of it, last year. The lineup and production were delightfully unique, attendees were literally treated like Kings and Queens and the sense of community was strong. This cozy festival has set quite the bar when it comes to executing intimate boutique festivals in India.
(Image: Magnetic Fields Facebook)
Where: Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer
Invariably, picking the right landscape/location to host a festival can make or break it. In this case Ragasthan’s desert venue managed to create a truly unique experience for all who attended it. Picture this: three days music, film while camping out in dunes. Three days of having to use camels as festival transport and dancing under the moonlit desert sky, away from city life drudgery. Here’s a shoutout to the organizers for having the sheer tenacity to host a festival smack dab in the middle of a desert.
(Images: Ragasthan Facebook)
5. Shiva Squad
Where: Kullu Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Emerged from the psychedelic trance label that created it – Shiva Squad Records, The Shiva Squad Festival in Himachal Pradesh is set inside a boutique resort spread over 20 acres at the Raison Kullu-Manali Highway, amidst the divine Himalayan range. This year’s edition is slated to be particularly exciting as the festival will, apart from their regular psy stage, see an alternative stage which will feature some interesting performances by artists under many genres ranging from indie and folk to metal.
6. Storm Festival
If you’re looking to attend an authentic camp-out music festival, Storm’s the place for you. Set in amidst nature not too far from Bangalore, Storm is a great example of how a festival can be entertaining as well as promote and sponsor environmental sustainability within its venue. Whether, it is efficient waste management, recycling, a strict no-plastic policy or using eco-friendly products.
7. Parvati Peaking
Where: Parvati Valley
In the ethereal heart of Parvati Valley, resides Parvati Peaking, an ideal getaway for those who wish to beat the heat. Parvati Valley has been benchmarked as one of the greatest Indian psy-trance festivals, and for good reason. Benchmarked as one of greatest Indian trance festivals, Parvati Peaking has been running successfully for several years. Known for its distinctive hippie-vibe and peaceful environment, this festival is a great way to kick off your vacay and get rid of them summer blues.
(Image: Parvati Peaking Facebook)
8. Bacardi Enchanted Valley Carnival
Where: Aamby Valley
Aamby Valley’s flagship EDM and camping festival is all set to take place this December. Offering an immersive camping experience along with some of the best international electronic acts, BEVC is going bigger than ever this year. With a lineup that features Tiesto, Fatboy Slim, Ferry Corsten, Dubfire, Shpongle and more, this festival is not one you want to miss out on!
The Hornbill Festival is Nagaland’s biggest state-sponsored cultural festival, aimed at promoting inter-tribe interaction as well as the rich cultural heritage of the state. The Government of Nagaland hosts the annual festival during the first week of December. Cultural celebrations aside, it also features a exciting bunch of contemporary activities like the Hornbill Rock Festival in Kohima, the biggest and most popular. Adventure car rallies, chilli eating contests and other interesting events are also part and parcel of this fest.
Ever since 2007, the beach festival has built a major fan base with its latest and 7th edition racking up a whopping 1.5 lakh attendees in a mere 3 days, covering 500000 sq metres of Vagator Beach, Goa. To say the line-up for the 2013 edition was massive would be an understatement as it boasted of 120 artists including the biggest in the dance music industry today – Axwell, Markus Schulz, Afrojack, Pete Tong, Mark Knight to name a few. Over the years, Sunburn has become a well established EDM festival and has single-handedly impacted how India’s festival culture is viewed around the world.
(Image: Sunburn Facebook)
11. Vh1 Supersonic
Last year, VH1 Supersonic really upped the ante when it came to stage production and the artists it hosted, while maintaining its sexy, chilled out vibe. Candolim beach comes alive every year-end because of this fantastically organised festival, that concentrates on issues like women’s safety and drug-intolerance. If you’re looking to enjoy dance music, without the hectic chaos that comes with it Vh1 Supersonic is the festival for you. The line-up should be out soon, so ready yourselves!
(Image: Vh1 Supersonic Facebook)
12. Lost Party
The Lost Party 2016 page has surfaced yet again inviting everyone to “Let’s Get Lost again”. The Sherp was present at the pilot edition and has fond memories of how it went down. From inception to final product, the Lost Party surprised us all with their fantastic opening installment. Acts included on their roster included musicians from all across the musical spectrum including Trilok Gurtu, Claptone, Twilight Players, Yolanda Be Cool and others.
(Image: Lost Party Facebook)
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