The vast encompassment of emotions that music emerges from, it’s only natural that music needs to be celebrated and not just listened to. All over the world, there has been music fests and carnivals that celebrate the essence that music lends to life and also acknowledges how bereft of life any existence without music would be. India also plays host to a number of such festivals that has the celebration of the melody of music at its core. Here’s 18 such music festivals in India you must witness if you do not want to miss out on any of the revelry-
Magnetic Fields Music Festival
Touted to be South Asia’s best dance music festival, Magnetic Fields is a yearly December rendezvous in Rajasthan. Held at the gorgeous Alsisar Palace, Magnetic Fields however is more than just a music festival. It is as extensive a tour of the state’s rich heritage and cultural elements as it is about celebrating life and its music. Both local and international artists dabble on the stage in this three day long festival of contemporary music and arts which is an euphoria unmissable among the many festivals in India.
The happiest music festival, NH7 Weekender is also one of the most awaited among music festivals in India. A multi- city, multi- genre extravaganza that becomes the talk of the town a few months every autumn, Weekender has been going strong ever since its inception in 2010. Massive crowds, electrifying performance and a whole lot of frenzy characterise the celebration of music through Weekender- also one of the largest music festivals in South Asia.
Sunburn Music Festival
The largest music festival in Asia, Sunburn is very much the pioneer of the EDM fest scene in India and has also been listed as being among the world’s top 10 festivals. A three day extravaganza that seeks to deliver in as epic a proportion as possible, Sunburn is just the perfect celebration of the lasts days of the year every December with its delightful line up of music and entertainment, food and shopping for a fun filled rendezvous.
Ragasthan Music Festival
Within the sandy deserts of Rajasthan comes to life a musical event unlike any other. Aptly titled Ragasthan, this festival is three day event in the midst of the desert nothingness with camels as the only mode of transportation to and from the venue. Along with multi genre music played on four different stages, Ragasthan also is an opportunity to camp under the starry night sky in Jaisalmer, replete with also other experiences of art and adventure. World music as well as folk melodies conjure up a wonderful world of the surreality that music inspires to imagine.
Woods Talk Festival
A relaxing festival that has music reverberating through the hills of Rishikesh is the Woods Talk festival. One of those exquisite experiences that mingles the free flowing essence of music with the adventurous spirit of nature, the woods come to life in all its music every March and engulfs all and sundry in its fold with its zesty vibe through the talking woods.
Enchanted Valley Carnival
A three day annual carnival, that is also the largest among music festivals in India, is the Enchanted Valley Carnival. Every December, Mumbai’s breathtaking Aamby Valley revels in even more enchantment courtesy this festival which is also Asia’s first airstrip fest. With music from different genres taking centerstage on 5 different stages throughout the duration of the carnival, it goes without saying that this is an extravaganza where you can live, breathe and dance to amazing music to the fullest. What’s more, there’s also adventure sports on offer that is really the icing on the cake in the gorgeous confines of the beautiful valley.
Mahindra Blues Music Festival
The largest blues festival in the whole of Asia, Mahindra Blues is a two day festival that takes centerstage in Mumbai and has the best of blues musician make the crowd go crazy with phenomenal live performances. Every year in February Mumbai’s iconic Mehboob Studios plays host to this extravagant gala that explores the world of the blues and the jazz with some of the finer names in the genre.
Music knows no boundaries which is why even Nashik’s famous winery Sula Vineyards also has its own music festival celebrating tones within its confines. The Sula fest is the grandest of music festivals in India that is an annual occurrence every February bringing together a diverse mix of music and melody in its two day fold. Also on offer is lip smacking food and of course fine wine, along with a host of other recreations to jazz up your enjoyment all the more.
Kasauli Rhythm and Blues festival
Every April, the scenic hills and environs of Kasauli resonate with a vibe that is not particularly in place with its calmness. The Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival is a revelry of music by indies artists all over the country, cutting across genres as distinct as Funk, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Folk Rock, Electro-Rock-Folk, Fusion and the like. Held at the picturesque town’s equally picturesque Baikunth Resorts, the festival however has a solemn undertone. All festival proceedings are directed towards the welfare of underprivileged children with congenital heart disease.
Since 2013, India has been witness to a musical extravaganza that’s easily one of the best happenings in the country. The VH1 Supersonic music festival has been the country’s premium beach music EDM destination that sees Indian and international artists rev up the stage every February in Pune. Over the years, the event grew into one with a sense of belonginess, with a lineup that performs across all genres and appeals to the visual sensory perceptive.
Escape Music Festival
A three day fest that is an annual fixture in the hilly state of Uttarakhand, Escape is a celebration that appeals to your creative faculties with its spectacular display of music and art in a picturesque lake side setting. A relaxed music festival with onsite camping facilities, Escape easily passes off as a leisurely vacation detour as well.
Ziro Festival of Music
Arunachal Pradesh’s most recognised carnival is the Ziro Festival of Music, which is very much an enriching experience. The picturesque settings, the tranquility pervading the environs, the captivating sway of the mountain winds and of course the color and tones of the melodies emanating as a rich symphony of celebration of the melody in life all contribute to a delightfully visceral rendezvous with the richest of pleasures in life. An independent music festival that is also India’s greatest outdoor scene, the Ziro festival dwells on a niche of its own in the plethora of festivals that celebrates music in the coutnry. Ziro is definitely not just the coolest among all festivals of north east India, it’s the coolest music fest as well!
Bangalore plays host to an offbeat music festival every year that goes by the name of Fireflies. Under a banyan tree in an open air amphitheater, the ambiance translates as one of soulful indulgence into music in a continuous sojourn from dawn to dusk. This very organic music fest also resonates with a social cause- proceeds are exclusively meant for the education of Adivasi children of Kabini, outside Mysore. Western jazz and tribal folk music dominates the scene here in what is essentially a musical soul searching for thousands of enticed visitors.
Summer Storm Music Festival
Every summer in May, Bangalore becomes witness to a stormy sounding, stormy seeming spectacle of all things music. The most authentic camp out music festival in India, Storm is also the greatest metal music event in the country that has an eclectic mix of head banging, rock enthusing crowd find their ground in this annual summer celebration.
Another multi genre music festival that promises to set pristine environs roaring with its eclectic dish out of medleys and tones is the GoMAD festival in Ooty. A two day fest housed within the Fernhills Palace in the verdant backdrop of the majestic Nilgiris, the cultural rendezvous promises more than just music, with camp outs under the majestic Ooty sky just elevating the experience to a different level of surreality altogether. Traditional and contemporary performance by artistes all over the world dominate the scene at the festival grounds which is also marked aplenty by graffiti and the arts.
Shiva Squad Festival
The magical land of Manali plays host to the Shiva Squad Festival every September, which is a three day musical extravaganza that runs on a theme different from that underlying the other music festivals in India. Psytranced music enthusiasts throng the Himalaya hillocks even as a diverse variety of musical pursuits brings the hills to life in a manner unique to its own. Deeply calming and immersive music does the rounds in the mountain air bringing revellers to peace and calm within themselves.
Tansen Music Festival
No compilation of the music festivals in India would be complete if we don’t include the one that pays tribute to the ultimate of the ancient musicians, Tansen. Every November, classical shows are organised with the tomb of Tansen as the backdrop where musicians from all over the country perform in the five day festival. Every year in Gwalior, the Tansen Samaroh is a very unique tribute to this legendary musician who is quite revered in the Indian music scene even today.
Udaipur World Music Festival
An annual event in February, the World Music Festival in the Rajasthani city of Udaipur sees international musicians and artists create environs conducive to swaying crowds and grooving folks. Be it soothing numbers or energetic live renditions, this all inclusive festival that celebrates world music indeed has something for all. The three day cultural extravaganza has artistes from Iran, Egypt, France, Portugal, Italy and India among other countries put up their creative exploits on ample display for a single purpose- to celebrate and sing praises of the universal spirit of music.