While music festivals are a universal phenomena, there are some troubles exclusive to the Indian festival attendee. We empathise with you, fellow festival lovers!
Not to underplay the struggle that everyone goes through while attending a music festival they love, but we must admit – Indian music festival goers experience an exclusive set of barriers, like video game levels, if you will, to have the ultimate festival experience. It’s true. The average Indian festival attendee needs to scale so much more. Recognising this struggle, this article is a call of compassion for all festival lovers, wishing to have their best Indian festival season yet. You’re not alone.
1. Getting permission from parents
This stage is the most crucial, all-common-a stage for any adventure you may have planned ahead. The deciding level for any Indian festival goer is taking the much needed permission from the parent-ship. Except, doing this must have you prepared for all the questions that lie ahead. ‘How much will it cost?’, ‘Who are you going with?’, ‘Who will you be staying with?’, are just some of them. Also, they won’t be paying for any expenditure that lies ahead.
2. Actually explaining to parents what a music festival is
Sorry. The precursor to taking permission from parents is actually explaining to them what a music festival is. I mean, India already has a bunch of religious and cultural festivals to deal with, so what’s a music festival? It’s like a concert, so why is it three days long? Aren’t music festivals where the most number of drug casualties happened? Good luck maintaining a convincing face to all that.
3. Begging to get on to the guest list
Music festivals in India are generously priced, but still most people almost always find themselves broke when having to buy tickets. Then the lineups are announced and there begins the unending spiral of calling anyone you might know, who commands some pull, begging to be put into the lineup. And almost always, it doesn’t work. So you either go hoping your parents bail you out, or you miss it and sulk altogether.
4. Trying to book tickets on IRCTC
May the heavens conspire to support you in this journey, but if the festival you want to attend to is located in another state, then good luck grabbing on to your travel tickets on time. Given you’re probably a 20-something broke music-lover, there is a pretty strong chance you cannot afford to fly all the way. So you spend your next few weeks trying to grab on to the quickly depleting railway tickets, to the background of the said festival’s playlist, to keep yourself stronger.
5. Convincing friends to go along
If you’re that music fan with an eclectic, obscure music taste, good luck finding company for your music festival journey. You may already know this, but the world functions on cliché, and there’s a pretty good chance your friends haven’t hopped on to the coolness that is commanded by your favourite artist. But if it helps, allow us to tell you that it’s not all that bad.
6. Packing for the inconsistent weather
India is mostly categorised by scalding levels of heat, so much so, that you’re bound to find most festivals scheduled around winter. But still the afternoons gets miserably warm, and the evenings freeze up, pleasantly. In comes the challenge of having to sport a garment that lets the wind in when the sun’s out, and packs quite the warmth when it gets too chilly. Who said it was easy?
7. High age restrictions for alcohol
As if the moral stigma wasn’t enough, most states are on their way to raising the age limit for alcohol to 25. So if you’re a puny looking under-25-year old, good luck grabbing on to anything but a breezer. So, thereby begins your search for a respectably adult looking person who might fish you a drink; and if not, you spend the festival not high, but quite dry.
8. Paying three-times the alcohol price
Now, we know how this is a universal issue. But truly, the cumulative price of the alcohol consumed at festivals is so much more expensive than the actual festival ticket itself. If you’re on a budget, then you’re probably one of those walking around all the parched under the Indian sun, wishing you could afford a glass, at least.
9. Even water’s a luxury
As if the price of alcohol isn’t exorbitant enough, the water isn’t priced to comfort either. Ridiculously priced water bottles are the new music festival norm. And India’s yet to hop on to the water-filling stations bandwagon.
10. Never ending lines
India was probably busy watching cricket when they yelled out that the early bird will catch the worm. But the fact that people turn up at their own sweet time, and our own on-going process with learning to manage it all, results in long never ending lines at the entrance, which, under the heat, feel like death.
11. Connectivity problems
We’d thank our stars the day we manage an undisturbed, fully connected call from within the confines of a music festival. India managed to send the cheapest space mission to Mars, and we still don’t have proper connectivity when at a music festival. Let that sink in.
12. Police bandhs are possible
In the green expanse, where fun and frolic take a hike; where the youth find themselves in the pleasure of company and music, there is the fear of a constant danger, lurking in the shadows. That fear is the Indian police. At any given point of time, your most favourite set could be broken in by a barrage of policemen wanting to shut the noise down.
13. ‘Ghaati’ uncles?
Hey, we’re not age-shaming so allow us to explain. Nothing gives us more joy then watching an aged, musically-rich couple doing the jiggy to some great band’s set. But things do get a bit weird when creepy uncles make their way into the festival arena, and dance like they would to the tackiest item number on the block. What will be seen can never be unseen.
14. Politician dying on the day of the concert
No disrespect to dying people everywhere, but if a politican, who holds no significant political office, but commands enough trout, decides to kick the bucket on the day of your festival, prepare to have your fun stopped, so you can be sent home.
15. Government banning the festival
Given the recent state of affairs in the country, we’re counting minutes to when the culture custodians will be up in the arms against the supposed ‘indecent’ nature of music festivals; against the rick boys and girls channeling their fake hippie personas, against the amount of intoxicants consumed; and against the fact there is no separate section for boys and girls. Rock music is not Indian music! We aren’t saying this. They will.
(all gif images from : giphy.com)
Our twitter followers had lots to say about the problems the Indian festival-goer faces! While some agreed with us, some had some fresh problems to share with us! Read their hilarious responses –
@festivalsherpa Limited food options. (Yes, I eat at festivals. Something needs to fuel the dance power)
— Noella (@noellacresence) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa expensive water bottles. Long lines to get drinks 🙁
— Sudhir Penumala (@sudhirpenumala) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa bar running out of cold beer! People taking selfies in front of dj booths!
— nashik electronica (@electronic0253) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa When a bunch of (DELHI) people start dancing like baaraatis, kicking and elbowing anybody in close proximity :/
— pallavi pundir (@pallavipundir) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa Sweaty armpits!
— Hot Koko. (@FlamingoFrat) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa scarcity of phone charging sockets ??
— RandomIndianBoy (@jain11gaurav) September 28, 2015
@FestivalSherpa A mad guy stalking you for weed?
— Hot Koko. (@FlamingoFrat) September 28, 2015