Fret not folks, the trusty Sherp has done your bidding. Here’s this season’s *whopping* Indian festival list you have been waiting for.
(Disclaimer: We have only included festivals that have been confirmed for this festival season. The article will be updated as and when confirmation for other festivals come through.)
1. Go Madras
When: September 5 to 6
Where: Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
Set in the spectacular coastal part of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is the perfect venue for a festival the scale of Go Madras. Its Radisson Blu home also speaks volumes about the quality of service and hospitality that a festival goer should expect, and the beach side location will definitely spice up the atmosphere. The festival features electronica artistes from around the world. It was founded in 2009 and is best known for the impressive stage production and visuals that accompany the music.
(Images courtesy: Go:Madras Festival/Facebook)
2. Covelong Point 2015
When: September 18 to 19
Where: Kovalam Village, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
The weekend festival is held at what organisers claim is “India’s first surfing village”. Its highlight will be the surfing competition, which will witness national and international surfers vying for the trophy. The three-day event also hosts yoga and meditation classes.
(Images Courtesy: Covelong Point festival/Facebook)
3. Ziro Festival
When: September 24 to 27
Where: Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Ziro Festival is one of the best organic festivals India has cultivated. It is set in the 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.
(Images Courtesy: Ziro Festival/Facebook)
4. Shiva Squad
When: September 25 to 27
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.
(Images Courtesy: Shiva Squad/Facebook)
5. Shillong Blues & Jazz Festival
When: TBA (Usually mid- September)
Where: Shillong, Meghalaya
The festival is an annual tribute to not just blues and jazz but also the musical ethos of Shillong, which is home to some of the best musicians in India. This year’s edition will feature the powerhouse Lou Majaw, bluesman Rudy Wallang and his band, as well as over 30 many up-and-coming acts from across North-East India. Besides the music, attendees can also look forward to food stalls and art and craft exhibitions.
(Images Courtesy: Shillong Blues & Jazz Festival/Facebook)
6. Groove Yoga Festival
When: October 1 to 6
The Groove Yoga Festival is going to be in India this October, and what better place to celebrate movement, music and community than Goa. If there’s one festival you can go to to unwind, it’s here.This amazing new festival actually combines yoga with a retreat experience, which basically means a very chill atmosphere and great music. The festival is coming to Goa this year in addition to its Ontario, Germany and Croatia editions. From October 1-6, the lush Ashiyana Centre on Mandrem beach will be transformed into a yoga retreat with a line-up of internationally acclaimed instructors, musicians and artists. There’s going to be yoga, along with the calming influence of music, just a few steps away from the ocean.
(Images Courtesy: www.thegroovefestival.com)
7. Sunburn Daman Weekend
When: October 3 to 4
Sunburn’s massive franchise will be extending to the beautiful shore of Daman this October, for a sick dance music marathon of two days. The lineup includes Sick Individuals,DANNIC, WolfPack, Anish Sood, B.R.E.E.D, Sound Avtar, Joshi and many more!
8. Jodhpur RIFF
When: October 23 to 27
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur City, Rajasthan
Jodhpur RIFF has established itself as the biggest and most authentic platform for a balanced amalgamation of Rajasthani folk music and international rhythms from the crevices of the world. Now as the 9th edition of the festival commences, the blue city comes to life with a heady mix of rustic Rajasthani riffs and globally acclaimed names that promise an ethereal experience.This edition will feature many resident legends, each with their distinctive sound and genre, from classical Maand songs to the celebration of the rising sun with some soulful Baul tunes. But apart from these homegrown veterans, the festival will also play host to two Grammy winning musicians – Yossi Fine, bassist extraordinaire, frontman of the band Ex-Centric Sound System and Wouter Kellerman, the uber-talented flautest. There are other incredibly impressive names on the RIFF roster that you must check out here, along with their schedule that entails other activities. Speaking of other activities, some events from the festival schedule that seemed quite appealing to us include their Scottish Panorama, which is a musical amalgamation of Celtic and jazz musicians with, of course, Rajasthani undertones. Also the Desert Harmony, a session with the harmonica sensation, Antonio Serrano, a member of the late Paco de Lucia’s ensemble.
(Images Courtesy: Jodhpur RIFF/Facebook)
9. Harley Rock Riders
When: October 30 to 31
Where: Byculla, Mumbai
Season six of India’s biggest rock music festival will return this October with a power-packed line-up, headlined by Megadeth and The Wailers.
Harley-Davidson India and Only Much Louder are teaming up once again to bring you the gnarliest Indian rock event this October 30 and 31. The lineup is being dropped one by one via twitter at the moment, and so far it consists of Blek, Down Troddence, The Ska Vengers, Abraxas, Superfuzz, The Lightyears Explode, Kraken, Skrat, Bayanak Maut, Coshish, Demonic Ressurection, Noiseware, Providence, Indus Creed, Bombay Basement, Scribecore.
(Images Courtesy: Harley Rock Riders/Facebook)
10. Bacardi NH7 Weekenders (Shillong and Kolkata)
When: October 23 to 24 and October 31 to Nov 1
Where: Shillong, Meghalaya and Kolkata, West Bengal
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. This year the travelling festival has added Shillong to its roadmap this year, something we can’t wait to experience!
11. Mumbai Film Festival or MAMI
When: October 29 to November 5
As Mumbai’s resident film festival, expect to be treated to some cutting edge and latest independent cinema along with Bollywood and Hollywood cult movies. The festival is run by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image.
12. Dharamsala International Film Festival
When: November 5 to 8
Where: Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh
Set in the naturally scenic mountain-esque expanse of Dharamshala, the Dharamshala International Film Festival brings together the best of Indian and International cinema on a culturally relevant stage. Initiated by Indian-Tibetan filmmaking couple Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the festival has showcased several award-winning films like The Liar’s Dice, Only Lovers Left Alive and Ugly in the past. Its 2015 programme is, hence, anxiously awaited.
(Images Courtesy: Bollywoodlife.com/DIFF Facebook)
13. Bacardi NH7 Weekender (Delhi)
When: November 28 to 29
India’s Happiest Music festival will be making it’s Delhi pit-stop, right after it’s Shillong and Kolkata editions. This year’s line-up is an absolutely doozy with the likes of Flying Lotus, Mark Ronson, Mogwai and SBTRKT added to the roseter!
(Images Courtesy: Bacardi NH7 Weekender/Facebook)
14. Pushkar International Balloon Festival
When: November 20 to 22
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
With a number of majestic forts and palaces dotting its terrain, Rajasthan provides an excellent landscape to balloon over. At this one-of-a-kind festival, you can explore the beauty of the Pushkar from high up in the sky even as you enjoy a luxurious ride. The flight will give a spectacular view of the scenic lake which is enveloped by beautiful ghats, as well as the nearby Aravalli range.
15. Sunburn (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad)
When: November 12, 13, 14, 15 consecutively
Where: Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi
Sunburn’s city editions are going to be off the hook this year, with the likes of DJ Snake, R3hab, Joshi headlining this year!
(Images Courtesy: Sunburn/Facebook)
16. Hornbill Festival
When: December 1 to 10
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.
17.Bacardi Nh7 Weekender Pune & Bangalore
When: December 4 to 6 and 5 to 6
Where: Pune, Bangalore
The final editions of this mammoth festival will culminate at Bangalore and Pune on the same weekend!
(Images Courtesy: Bacardi NH7 Weekender/Facebook)
18. Music In The Hills
When: December 13 to 14
Where: Mandawa, Rajasthan
Music In The Hills is an annual event that brings together some of the best indie acts from India every year. The festival doesn’t have a permanent venue; it rotates between the hills of North India and Rajasthan. Started by a bunch of music enthusiasts in 2007, the event takes pride in its no-frills feel and non-commercial vibe.
(Images Courtesy: Music in the hills/Facebook)
19. Magnetic Fields
When: December 18 to 20
Where: Alsisar, Rajasthan
Boutique festivals are an awesome new alternative for people disenchanted by the bigger ones, although getting a boutique festival right without exactly ‘selling out’ is undoubtedly a bit tricky. 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.
(Images Courtesy: Magnetic Fields/Facebook)
20. Johnnie Walker’s The Journey
When: December 12
For the past two years, Johnnie Walker’s The Journey has been an extraordinary music and arts experience via eclectic artistes who are proverbial virtuoses of their genres. Last December Mumbai was privy to thought-provoking stories narrated through various forms of expression – music, performing arts and cinema at Johnnie Walker’s The Journey. Armed with the theme ‘Every Epic Journey Begins with a Single Step,’ The Journey featured live performances by outstanding and progressive musicians like Snarky Puppy, Bonobo and Paul Potts as well as the critically acclaimed theatre group Dislocate. These weren’t be ordinary stage performances as they also included workshops and idea swapping sessions with the artistes themselves.
(Images Courtesy: The Journey/Facebook)
21. Enchanted Valley Carnival
When: December 18 to 20
Where: Aamby Valley, Lonavala, Maharashta
Aamby Valley’s flagship EDM and camping festival is all set to take place this December. Although the line-up hasnt been released yet, we’ve been hearing that some exciting artists will be landing on the Aamby Valley airstrip this year. Who could they be? Just stay tuned to The Sherp, he’ll keep you posted.
(Images Courtesy: EVC/Facebook)
22. Vh1 Supersonic
When: December 27 to 30
Where: Candolim, Bardez, Goa
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!
(Images Courtesy: VH1 Supersonic/Facebook)
When: December 27 to 29
Where: Vagator Beach, Goa
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.
(Images Courtesy: Sunburn/Facebook)
24. Jaipur Literature Festival
When: January 21 to 25, 2016
Where: Jaipur, Rajasthan
The premier literary festival of the country is known for its easy-going vibe and insightful discussions moderated by some of noted intellectuals. If literature is not your thing, then there’s great music and food on offer too. The upcoming edition features veteran writers such as VS Naipaul, Ahmed Rashid and Bettany Hughes as speakers.
(Images Courtesy: Zeejlf/Facebook)
25. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
When: February 6 to 14 2016
Where: Kala Ghoda, Mumbai
As the mother of all cultural fests in India, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has been an exciting and vibrant cultural melting pot ever since its inception in 1999. As far as cultural festivals go, its exponential growth over the years has attracted visitors, participants and sponsors from all over the world. This year the festival drew over 150000 people over 9 days and 350 events of art, music, dance, theatre, literature, street stalls, films & workshops making it the biggest and most loved cultural festival in the country.
(Images Courtesy: KGAF/Facebook)
26. Sula Fest
When: February 6 to 7, 2016
Where: Sula Vineyards, Nasik, Maharashtra
Come february, India’s favourite gourmet music festival will be back. Sulafest is an event that warrants weekend off from by taking a little joyride to Nashik – for good music, good wine in the company of your favourite people. Last year the festival really upped its ante as
it saw nearly 10,000 festival-goers at the Sula amphitheatre. Apart from the music, the fun activities unique to the festival like wine tasting and grape stomping have been its main USP.
When: February 11 to 14 2016
Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
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 Courtesy: Ragasthan/Facebook)
28. Hill Top Festival
When: February 12 to 14 2016
Where: Vagator, Goa
This niche festival is held in one of the best locations in Goa – a scenic hilltop that gives a panoramic view of the breathtaking shoreline. This three-day event will feature three stages, and besides psy trance, it will also offer techno music to patrons. Revellers who wish to relax can have a gala experience at the Chill Out stage, where soothing down tempo beats will rock.
(Images Courtesy: Orange Dust/ Hilltop /Facebook)
29. Mahindra Blues Festival
When: February 2016, dates TBA
An Indoor festival can utilize space and production to highlight the music it offers and that’s exactly what the Mahindra Blues Festival succeeds at doing. The festival has single handedly united Blues music enthusiasts across the country, by bringing down some world class musicians to perform, along with providing a platform for upcoming Blues talent in the country. This year’s edition saw the renowned The Tedeschi Trucks Band headline the festival – something which created quite a buzz before and after the event.
(Images Courtesy: Mahindra Blues Festival/Facebook)
30. India Surf Festival
When: February 2016 (dates TBA)
Where: Sahukhanata, Odisha
India Surf Festival is a one-of-a-kind venturesome festival in India that brings to our shores the sought-after beach culture of the West. ISF has much more to offer than just surfing! In addition to the absolutely thrilling water sports activities, it hosts introductory workshop sessions that educate participants about everything they possibly need to know regarding water sports tourism. Besides music, the festival also features music and dance performances.
(Images Courtesy: India Surf Fest/Facebook)
31. India Bike Week
When: February 2016 (dates TBA)
Where: Vagator, Goa
India Bike Week is the first and only festival in India, built around bikes, bikers and music. The first edition in January, 2014 saw 7,500 bikers and biking enthusiasts roar into the festival grounds at Vagator, Goa. The weekend festival hosted over 26 live bands, a number of stellar DJs, 3 concert stages, biker legends, 16 cage fighters, race tracks, stunt zones and more. The third edition, scheduled for February 2016 promises to be more engaging, adrenaline filled and will cover every aspect of the biking lifestyle.
(Images Courtesy: India Bike Week/Facebook)
32. World Sufi Festival
When: February 22 to 24 and February 26 to 27 2016
Where: Nagaur and Jodhpur
Devoted to the cause of showcasing the music talent of spiritual performers from around the globe, upcoming edition of the music event is held in two cities – Jodhpur (at the Mehrangarh Fort) in Jodhpur and Nagaur (Ahhichatragarh Fort). The upcoming edition will feature performers from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Morocco, among other places.
(Images Courtesy: World Sufi Festival/Facebook)
33. Storm Festival
When: Confirmed, but dates are tentative
Where: Bangalore, Karnataka
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.
(Images Courtesy: Storm Festival/Facebook)
34. Lost Party
When: February 2016 ( dates TBA)
Where: Lavasa City,
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.
(Images Courtesy: Festival Sherpa/Facebook)
35. Emerge Music & Arts Festival
When: February 2016 (Dates TBA)
Where: Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai
Viacom’s debut Indie festival fared exponentially well this year, by bringing down Alt-J and Rudimental. Even though no dates or artists have been announced yet, we can definitely expect some popular contemporary indie-bands to grace Emerge’s festival grounds this season!
(Images Courtesy: Emerge Festival /Facebook)