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Review |  07 Feb 2017 17:10 |  By Mallika Deb

SulaFest 2017: An absolute reality of sheer madness and music

MUMBAI: Some music on the radio and a bottle of wine can get you high, but nothing can beat the intoxication of high-voltage music in between the vineyards. This combination was presented for the tenth year at SulaFest 2017, a three-day event that was full of madness, energetic vibes, music worth jumping to and not to forget some good wine. had an opportunity to experience the freshness of the vineyards at SulaFest 2017 and we put it all in a bottle to get you a whiff of this three-day extravaganza.  

The tenth edition of SulaFest bridged more than 30 genres from around the globe, ranging from world fusion to electro-acoustic, techno, house, pop, electronica, electro-swing, psychedelic trance  and witnessed over 130 artists, from UK, Italy, India, Bosnia, Israel and more across its three stages – The Amphitheater Stage, Atmasphere Stage and Tropical Stage.

Pageant of great music:

On the music front, SulaFest did make an influence in its tenth edition. This is one of the few festivals, which incorporated a blend of the lesser-known global artists and commercially popular Indian acts. These include world festival favourites such as Infected Mushroom, Bloc Party, Dubioza Kolektiv, Hilight Tribe, Indian Ocean, Afro Celt Sound System, Loco and Jam, Jan Blomqvist and Band, Nucleya, The Raghu Dixit Project, Swingrowers, Dhruv Voyage, Ska Vengers and much more.

The very first day of SulaFest was a storm of music without a doubt. With power-packed performances by Anant Donn Bhat, Nucleya, Raghu Dixit Project, and the Indian Ocean, along with some French rum and Scotch, day one ended with passion.

Day two brought us a roasting sun, along with the 'Sulafest Bazaar' with a collection of cautiously chosen and fascinating items for sale. We didn't miss grape stomping and a plethora of fun activities which rounded off the experience. Not to miss the musical course, which included Reggae Rajahs's surprise set, The Ska Vengers. Also, Dubioza Kolektiv, which was hands down the act of the festival on the second day of Sulafest. In addition, the big live act of the day, Bloc Party at the Amphitheater stage.

At the Tropical stage, Australian saxophonist Simon Hewitt came as a treat to the ears and the Germany-based producer Peter Schumann's minimal grooving beats and a vivid variety made us hope for more. We also liked Shaun Moses who kicked off his set and Loco and Jam who closed the day with their stellar performance at the Atmasphere Stage.

Day three was a musical madness in a diverse way. In which Tejas Belkond, The Fanculos set the frame of mind for a wine-fueled Sunday afternoon, Dhruv Ghanekar along with Kalpana Patowary marked the moment in time. With the essence of regional folk, skilful Ghanekar guitar solo, Artur Grigoyan's magical saxophone blew our mind and gave us goosebumps. German-based Jan Blomqvist & Band created magic at the Atmasphere Stage located amidst the vineyards.

Worth mentionable is Afro Celt Sound System who debuted at SulaFest and blew the crowd with their contemporary electronic dance rhythms fused with traditional Irish and West African melody. It couldn't have been better to watch them with their Celtic and West African sound with a Punjabi dhol.

While people were waiting for the biggest acts by Highlight Tribe followed by Infected Mushroom, Reggae Rajahs's set for 20 minutes was good enough to pump up the energy.

We were so exhilarated by Highlight Tribe's set and especially 'Shankara' and 'Free Tibet'. For us, it was the best sounding gig at a music festival and there was nothing but all positive vibes, eccentric music, and right whirl. Infected Mushroom set the fire on at Amphitheatre stage and the 'Insane' sound brought the house down at SulaFest 2017. The 'Army of mushrooms' continued to encompass the three-dimensional sound that is a signature tone of the duo. Infected Mushroom did set the stage on fire! The set was a visual treat of projections, lights and confetti blasts along with some of their old trance classics and high-energy psychedelia.  

The unquestionably scenic venue:

The foremost thing I noticed as I was entering the festival ground is the minimalistic setup.

As the three stages were brilliantly made up in a unique way, definitely, some scrupulous minds put effort to turn the venue and the stages into a rebellion. The slight touches of fairy lights, wine bottles turned lamps, origami lampshades hanging from the trees, along with clouds made of cotton, all were done in appropriate celebration approach. The Amphitheater Stage reminded me of a beautiful open-air, Greek-style amphitheatre.

Apart from the Amphitheater Stage, the enlarged Atmasphere Stage highlighted some crazy psy-decorations and the all-new Tropical Stage with electro-acoustic and ambient music at the vineyard. We didn't fail to spot the Hollywood-style symbol #SulaFest in the middle of the vineyards.

An assortment of irresistible wines:

Here you can't go wrong. Of course, there was lots of wine, but there was also French rum, Scot whisky, and liqueurs from all over the world. Another new addition was this year was the 'Globe in a Glass' stall where fest-goers got to meet and taste with the people behind various brands from the Sula selections portfolio. The renowned wine connoisseur Robert Joseph attended the festival for the first time showcasing his brand Le Grand Noir. Also, we didn't miss Sula's brand new limited edition Valentines wines which were a big hit at the festival.

The three-day musical experience was colossal, a lot of brainstorming and undoubtedly fine-tuned this year. Take a bow SulaFest 2017!