The Sherp was at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Hyderabad and is now nursing a Weekender hangover while typing this out.

Hyderabad just witnessed its first edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and if the question of whether it lived up to expectations is still looming in your minds, we are here to clear it up for you.

The two-day festival had been held at the GRM Arena, Shamsabad, which meant a long commute for everyone living the city. As it was held in the area around the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, relying on public transportation was not an option, leaving the attendees, without their own means of transportation, to choose between the Weekender shuttle service, or Uber. But, that did not stop the venue from getting packed by the later half of the event on both the days.

The Day 1 of the festival kickstarted with a soulful performance by Arpit Chourey, the indie singer-songwriter from Hyderabad, followed by an energetic dance performance by Ganesh Talkies. The group, dressed in blue hospital gowns, began their set with ‘Monsters in Your Head’, which was enough to get the crowd moving. It was a difficult choice to make between Prateek Kuhad and Sapta who were playing next, on The Dewarists and Breezer Vivid Village stage respectively. Thankfully, Sapta had a longer set, so we managed to catch the second half of their performance. Kuhad sang his hit tracks such as ‘Yeh Pal’ and even several new tracks such as ‘Closer’ and ‘Kitne Vaade Bakhi’ giving the audience a preview of his upcoming works. Sapta, on the other hand, was wowing their audience with a powerful performance that had the audience dance like there was no tomorrow.

Prateek Kuhad sang several unreleased singles

The day also saw performances by Swarathma, that won the crowd over with their never-been-played-before tracks such as ‘Majnu’. Skrat, the three-piece rock band from Chennai got the crowd head-banging and Parikrama and Indian Ocean kept the vibe going playing songs that we have loved for years. When the day began there were hardly 200 people, but soon after the sun had set, we saw the numbers increasing. We attributed the increase in crowd to one factor: Nucleya. As always, Nucleya didn’t disappoint us, by playing all his best tracks, such as ‘Akkad Bakkad’, ‘Aaja’, ‘Bass Rani’ and even ‘Let’s Nacho’. People danced and restored to Nucleya’s calls for Fuck That Shit with much enthusiasm and vigour. All that dancing, had drained the crowd’s energy and yet, everyone left the premises still jumping in joy, eyes gleaming with excitement. Day 1 had ended on quite a high.

Vasu Dixit of Swarathma

Skrat gave a mind blowing performance and had the crowd screaming for more

Parikrama took The Dewarists stage while Func, followed by Murthovic, played on the Breezer Vivid Village stage

Nucleya, as always, brought his best and got the crowd thumping

Day 2 began on a grunge rock note, with The Tapes taking up The Dewarists stage. Alluri, took up the Bacardi House Party stage, while simultaneously Sid Vashi played on the Breezer Vivid stage. Nicholson, who followed the performance, had people swaying their bodies, while Aswekeepsearching had the crowd head-banging at the Bacardi stage. There was some last minute changes in performances, where Ankit and The Ghalat Family replaced Vir Das’Alien Chutney, surprising the crowd. Bhayanak Maut, who performed next on the Bacardi stage, got the people who had been “made tired by the DJ sets” to headbang like never before, and even encouraged them to form a mosh-pit.

Ankit and The Ghalat Family took stage instead of Vir Das’ Alien Chutney. They played tracks from their latest album, Side A Side B.

Bhayanak Maut sang some of their best tracks such as ‘All glory to the beard’ and ‘Genosis’

Surprises for the day did not end with the impromptu appearance by Ankit Tiwari. Josh Fernandez’, vocalist and guitarist of The F16’s broke two fingers in freak accident leaving him incapable of playing. Skrat’s guitarist Sriram T.T stepped up and played on behalf of Josh. They played a very heavy set and left out all their earlier tracks and ended their set with ‘Nukes’. The Raghu Dixit Project had people sing back Kannada and Telugu lyrics back to the band, as several moved towards the Bacardi stage so that they could catch their spot right in the front for Farhan Live. While, personally, the choice of Farhan Live as a headliner at an indie fest seemed weird, the crowd that had gathered on the grounds seemed to think otherwise. Farhan, who started the performance with the very loved ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ was received with loud hoots and applause. Shraddha Kapoor made a surprise entry, and sang tracks such as ‘Udja Re’ from the latest movie, Rock On 2. To be honest, we were belting out the lyrics along with the crowd. From where we were standing, we could even see people backstage, dancing and singing along.

The Raghu Dixit Project got everyone pumped

Farhan Live on stage with Shraddha Kapoor

Farhan managed to pull the crowd to Weekender

The Weekender ended on a high. Overall, the Hyderabad edition did not disappoint. The production, sound quality and even the line-up (even with all the cancelled acts) was extremely good. While most of the crowd seemed to be first-time-goers, who were, as described by Vinay Venkatesh of Bhayanak Maut, “unsure of what to do”, they all formed one of the most enthusiastic audiences at a Weekender. Despite being a small venue, the team pulled together an interesting group of sellers, such as Supervek and Aha Stuff. All in all, we were made very happy, just as they promised.

Just the Weekender vibe

All images were clicked by Santosh Kumar