Music Festivals in India - November 2022 to October 2023
Winters in India are when the music turns louder. Cities and towns turn into intimate oases, and the best Indian and international musical talent converge for a short time, leaving their audiences with a lifetime of aural memories.
Say Easy Wanderlings, an eight-member collective from Pune, “as humans, we crave a sense of community. Being in the crowd together, listening to your favourite musicians, knowing everyone around you is feeling the same things you are, knowing you belong, is probably the best thing about attending festivals.”
For Delhi-based jazz musician and electronica producer Tarun Balani (https://instagram.com/tarunbalani?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=), the joy of attending music festivals lies in “discovering new music and artists”. And performing in them, Balani says “offers a great opportunity to present my music to a diverse audience and connect with fellow artists from different parts of the world.”
If you’re looking for a musical getaway far from the city chaos, read on.
The Bacardi NH7 Weekender - Pune, Maharashtra
Dates: November 25-27, 2022
The country’s ‘Happiest’ Music Festival returns to Pune to celebrate its 13th edition at the end of this month. Calling itself #13MeraWeekender, this edition like previous ones has an eclectic line-up of indie musicians – both Indian and international, taking over five stages. The headlining names include American band The Lumineers, rapper J.I.D, and Swedish band Dirty Loops among others. To be held over three days, this event will be an unbridled celebration of music, F&B, art and well…happiness!
For details: https://nh7.in/
Book tickets here: https://insider.in/bacardi-nh7-weekender-2022-pune-nov25-2022/event?utm_source=nh7&utm_medium=mailer
Chennai Margazhi Kutcheri Season - Chennai, TamilNadu
Dates: November 30, 2022-January 16, 2023
The Chennai Margazhi Kutcheri season also referred to as the Chennai December Season, is one that Carnatic music devotees await with anticipation. You know the December season is serious business because the concerts, held in various community halls and auditoriums across Chennai, have daylong schedules. The programme schedule of the Music Academy’s annual conference and concerts – considered the prime sabha for the season – starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. The musicians who perform tend to be a mix of young, up-and-coming, and established vocalists who are accompanied by instrumentalists. Fans from across the globe flock to Chennai especially for the season. As a Carnatic musician who didn’t wish to be named shared with us, “the season is so popular that you have to book rooms months ahead if you plan to visit the city during this time.”
For details: https://www.chennaidecemberseason.com/
Echoes of Earth - Bangalore, Karnataka
Dates: December 3-4, 2022
India’s ‘Greenest Music Festival’ will be held in early December on the outskirts of Bangalore at Embassy International Riding School. The theme this year is Circle of Life, and its line-up features 35 global and homegrown artists. Tarun Balani counts performing at this festival as among his favourite memories: “Echoes of Earth 2019 was a wonderful experience because it’s a festival that focuses on spreading awareness about sustainable methods and practices. I also got to see some of my favourite artists like Squarepusher and Shigeto. The festival had great food from the Karnataka region and the overall vibe was truly fantastic!”
For details: http://echoesofearth.com/
Book tickets here: https://in.bookmyshow.com/events/echoes-of-earth-music-festival-bangalore/ET00338442
Magnetic Fields - Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan
Dates: December 11-13, 2022
A contemporary art and music festival, it was conceived in 2013 to showcase diverse, future-facing sounds from the country and the world. The festival has grown to become the favoured destination of young creative spirits who love the idea of spending three nights under cold, star-lit skies in a desert palace. After a two-year hiatus induced by the pandemic, Magnetic Fields returns this year with a diverse line-up and will be held at its usual venue – the Alsisar Mahal (https://www.alsisarmahal.com/) in Rajasthan. The theme is Reconnection.
Sijya (https://sijya.com/), an electronica producer from Delhi who is set to release her debut EP, Young Hate, rates Magnetic Fields as her favourite music festival. She is part of the festival’s line-up this year but that’s not the sole reason for her choice. “As an attendee, it’s truly a beautiful three days. I remember hanging out with people that I wouldn’t otherwise spend time with, for long hours and it was really special. There have also been moments of relying on someone you don’t know too well for lifting your mood or to share a meal. Everyone’s looking out for each other”, she reminisces.
For details: www.magneticfields.in
Mood Indigo - Mumbai
Dates: December 27-30, 2022
Hosted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mood Indigo (https://www.instagram.com/iitbombay.moodi/?hl=en) is Asia’s largest college cultural festival and will be celebrating its 52nd edition this year! One of the most-awaited cultural events among college-going youth, Mood Indigo has garnered a cult following over the years mainly for the national and international music acts that have performed on its stage over the years. This year, USA band American Authors is the headlining act.
Register here: https://my.moodi.org/signup
Tansen Samaroh - Behat, Madhya Pradesh
Dates: December 25-30, 2022
Started in 1924 by Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia of Gwalior, Tansen Samaroh commemorates one of Indian classical music history’s best-known vocalists – Mian Tansen. The music festival is held in Behat, the village where Tansen’s tomb lies. While it may have started small, it has grown to become a mainstay in the country’s cultural calendar. What’s worth noting is that even today, 98 years later, the main performances are held near Tansen’s tomb. From some time in the 1950s, the festival has been organized under the aegis of the state government of Madhya Pradesh. Tansen Samaroh celebrates multiple genres of music and also fetes a senior musician every year.
For details: https://www.tansensamaroh.com/
Sunburn Goa 2022 - Goa
Dates: December 28-30, 2022
One of the pioneering electronic dance music festivals in the country, Sunburn Goa has become an annual fixture for EDM heads. Since its debut in 2007, the festival has seen some of the world’s top DJs playing here. This year, the festival in Vagator has Afro Jack, Black Coffee, and Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike as the headliners. The highlights for this edition include seven stages for performances, a flea market, after-parties, and luxury VIP packages. What’s not to love?
For details: https://sunburn.in/
Book tickets here: in.bookmyshow.com/events/sunburn-goa-2022/ET00328681
Hill Top Festival - Vagator, Goa
Dates: January 21-23, 2023
Touted to be among the best psytrance music festivals and the biggest dance party in India, Hill Top Festival (https://www.facebook.com/HillTopFestival/) is held in Vagator, Goa. The venue for the festival is the Hill Top Dance Club from which it derives its name. Over the years, the festival stages have seen the best local and international psychedelic trance, techno, and down-tempo acts converge for a non-stop party. Besides music, the festival also hosts the Goa Collective Bazaar, a flea market with 100 stalls. With EDM, shopping, food stalls, a cocktail bar, and live acts like fire dancers, this one’s a banger.
Sacred Spirit Festival - Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Dates: February 10-12, 2023
A festival patronized by none other than English musician Sting, the Sacred Spirit Festival is a celebration of the spiritual essence of music which transcends communities, cultures, and creeds. Presented by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust under the patronage of Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur-Marwar, the festival which is held at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur brings together an eclectic set of artists. While dates for the 14th edition of the festival have been announced, the programme schedule is yet to be updated.
For details: www.worldsacredspiritfestival.org
Jodhpur RIFF - Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Dates: October 26-30, 2023
A music festival endorsed by UNESCO as a “Peoples’ Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development”, the Jodhpur RIFF (acronym for Rajasthan International Folk Festival) is held at the 17th century Mehrangarh Fort in October every year to coincide with the Sharad Purnima. Held for five days, the festival core programming revolves around the folk musicians of Rajasthan but also has international artistes. The festival has HH Gaj Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur as its chief patron and Sir Mick Jagger, frontman of the rock band The Rolling Stones, as its international patron.
For details: https://www.jodhpurriff.org/