| 22 Jun 2024
2012: Top 10 music festivals in India

India played host to more and more fest in 2013- long standing favourites and exciting new ones. The sheer number and variety of festivals makes it very tough for to make the selection for the list.

The fests therefore have been restricted mainly on the pop/ rock circuit, even though the classical and traditional live music is thriving very well.

Criteria include line up, legacy of the fest, uniqueness in terms of offering and ambience, sheer scale and audience response.

While some were no-brainers in making the list, others were not included for the simple fact of ‘falling short’ in numbers, publicity or teething troubles.

Crossing our fingers, the RnM team puts out the Top 10 Music Festivals of 2012:

10. Windsong Music Festival (Goa): The inaugural Windsong festival  (24-25 December) makes an entry because of its unique offering- indie music, excellent line up of artist (22 of them) from Lucky Ali, Remo Fernandes, Rabbi Shergill and Anushka Manchanda to newbies Aazin Printer, Neel & The Lightbulbs, The Naina Kundu Trio.

We also put our money on Percept Live making the fest bigger and better with foreign indie acts for 2013.

9. The Escape Festival of Art and Music, (Naukuchiatal, UP): Never heard of this fest? Don’t worry; the organizers want it that way. The Escape Festival of Art and Music, as its name suggests, is for people who dig all kinds of art not only music. “The creative retreat features bands, artists, writers, photographers, painters, graffiti artists, performance artists, tattoo artists and potters in a mélange of talent, a festival camp, a film festival and a flea market, say the organizer Pothead.

Set in the foothills of the Himalayas at Naukuchiatal Lake, the festival is about being close to nature, informal jams throughout the three days with the serene lake and majestic mountains as backdrop.

8.  Ragasthan Music Fest (Jaisalmer): Scores highly on innovation as the festival is held right in the middle of the Thar Desert on the outskirts of picturesque Jaisalmer. There are three stages- Morio Main Stage, Ammara Electronic Stage, Olun World Stage- where an eclectic music from artist from all over the world performed for three days and nights.The artist lineup included Parikrama, Brahma to Chalo Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Negra Pradera (Latin Salsa Flamenco), Cam Neufeld (Canada) and Madame Perrera- Jahcoozi (Germany). Other activities at the fest include duneboarding, sand surfing, and balloon trips to watching movies under the desert sky at night.

7. Hornbill Festival (Kohima): A long-standing festival in the country’s rock calendar held in the heart of the North-East the heartland of rock music- at Nagaland capital, Kohima. In its 13th year, the Hornbill fest saw thousands including tourists from abroad attending the 5-day fest (4-8 December) with activities including traditional dance, motorcycle rallies to honouring WWII dead. The rock completion saw 22 bands from all over India fighting out for the 9 final slots. The grand prize was Rs 5 lakhs.

6. Mood Indigo (IIT-Mumbai): Each of the country’s premier technical institute, the IITs, organizes a hell of a fest every year. And within that rarified field of uber cool fests, IIT Mumbai’s Mood Indigo is first among equals.

A staggering amount of activities are planned and packed during the four- day fest- games, dramatics, cultural activities and of course music- from rock to classical across its sprawling campus.

As Asia’s biggest college fest, this year’s fest (‘Mood I’) held from 20-23 December had 300 bands competing across three categories; ‘Mantra’ (for Hindi music), ‘Musgasm’ and the biggest show ‘Livewire competition' for a total prize worth Rs 5 lakhs in cash and in kind.

The festival’s  musical ‘eclecticness’ can be attested by fest the number of foreign talent who performed classical music, rock performances by rock acts Thermal and A Quarter, and Simple Plan. And a rocking show by Bollywood music directors Salim-Sulaiman who played their Bollywood hits.

5. Submerge Festival (Goa): A decade of grooving to dance, trance and club music on the beach.The  Submerge experience is about chilling out to Electronic Dance Music (EDM). The DJs who play here are as chilled out as the beer available but no less talented than more hyped up contemporaries.

Albin Myers, Nawed Khan, DJ Mash, DJ Ajit Pai and a whole bunch of beautiful people. Not so much about energy as it is about the vibe, grooving and spacing out.

4. Rock N India (Bangalore): A festival that has put the city of Bangalore in the rock n roll map. Organizers claim the fest as India’s first international music fest. Who can argue with them after they got acts like Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica before and Carlos Santana in 2012? Only a day-long, but packed with activities- 10 hours of music, arts & crafts or just loitering around.

3. I-Rock (Mumbai): In its 27th year, Independence Rock or I-Rock rumbles on. The mother of all rock shows, the festival has seen lean years and pretenders, and rolled over them all. This year, despite its main sponsor pulling out, founder Farhad Wadia and the boys pulled it off in style- going ahead with the free- entry festival

Some of the country’s top bands like ‘Bhayanak Maut’, ‘Brahma’, ‘Zygnema’ along with Battle of the Band winners Riot Peddlers gave the 6,500 strong crowd a rocking workout.

2. NH7 Weekender (Pune, Delhi, Bangalore): Some fests may rock, others may be hot, but NH7 defines ‘cool’. Organized by Only Much Louder (OML), a pioneer in India’s indie music scene NH7 offered great music with legions of bands across it original venue in Pune to new cities in Delhi and Bangalore. Good music, film shows and great drinks and very affordable entry rates makes it a hit.

1. Sunburn (Goa): Since its launch in 2007, Sunburn has become Asia’s biggest fest of its kind, pulling in thousands and attracting top DJs.

The Sunburn brand is worth Rs 275 crores and set to touch Rs 500 crore by 2013 with 60 acts lined up globally.

The brand is the flagship of Percept Live which owns Sunburn and a host of other festival franchises like Submerge and Windsong.

Sunburn 2012 had top DJs- world no.1 DJPaul Van Dyke and Grammy award winner RJ Roger Sanchez- mesmerizing the 75,000 crowd on the final day.

The three-day extravaganza at Goa’s Candolim Beach (27-29 December) attracted 50 acts with 120 artistes- Indian and international including Brit heavy weights Dirty Vegas, DJ Pearl, Midival Punditz and DJ Shaan.

Sunburn’s USP is about boundless energy, soaking in out-of-this-world sound and music dancing the night away.