Attendees must be thanking their stars that rain did not play spoilsport at a location teeming with the possibility of heavy showers at this time of the year. Having said that, there were a lot of factors that contributed to the success of GoMAD 2013.

Foreigner friendly


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The international folk were quite pleasant. A traveling musician from California, equipped with a ukulele ALL the time, spent a great deal of time at the fest sitting and talking to random groups of people, sharing his travel stories, playing his original and a few Beatles’ songs while dancing crazy during live performances. Tobias Huber from 1001 Ways sported an ever-so-sweet smile at any time of the day and greeted people along the way. It was common for artists to come down from the stage after their performance was over, and cheer for the next band that went up like any regular festival goer. All inhibitions were cast aside.

Festival for all ages

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The average age of the crowd was around 20-40 years. However, demographics both above and below this belt could be seen shaking a leg at some point or the other. Proof was a woman teaching her kid daughter how to head bang. During a particular Agam’s concert, the crowd at the front had to make way for a mother and her kid daughter duo headbanging furiously to the music.

Easy living:

You slept and woke up to pin drop silence. No mishaps or un-cooperative tourists that halted the proceedings. The sleeping tents were clean, safe, and without mosquitoes or insects, and the sleeping bags warm and cozy. The fest made you unwilling to go back to your tents at night, while the tents made it unwilling to get out in the mornings. Good balance.


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Tighter, heavier bands were positioned at prime-time, while easy listening, melodious bands took stage in the mornings and during late nights. The big bands didn’t clash, and you had thrash metal at one stage, and Carnatic fusion at the other, making it easy for the people to make a choice.


Buses that plied to and from the venue had their stop at a mere 2.5 km distance from the venue, and the easy availability of auto rickshaws made sure you didn’t have to miss out on your favorite band on the last day because you had to catch your bus.

Fernhills Palace:

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With breathtaking views of the Ooty landscape below from each side, and long roads, and paths in the campus that lead to one unexplored location after the other, the Fernhills Palace was a photographer’s delight. Some folks enjoyed the performance five feet away from the band, while others enjoyed the dampened guitar sounds while taking a walk on the narrow path covered in trees behind the stage. Be hard to find a more picturesque location for a camping music festival. One of the primary reasons behind the success of the festival was the fact that there was so much to do apart from listening to live music all day – sloped hills in front of ancient palatial buildings, where you could sit and sip away beers, grassy lawns to spread onto in the hot morning sun at a fair distance from the stage and listen to and alternative band play a song about unexpected travels, and spending time in the forest pathway between the two stages, complete with jam sessions with unique instruments, hair-braiding, t-shirt and candy stalls. In short, the venue was very open to crowds that came solely for the camping experience.

The organization in terms of the large crowd and the large number of artists was commendable. Having said that, it would be interesting to see where GoMAD 2014 goes from here.

(Written by Vishal Shah)