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The starry, starry nights of November have never been more exciting. The sound of music is set to dawn upon the dunes of Jaisalmer from November 16-18, with the first edition of Ragasthan Music Festival. But music is not all that's on the cards. Camping on the Kanoi dunes, gorging on hot kachoris and sipping chai, desert-centric adventure sports, watching movies in the film tent and stargazing will add to the feel of this fest.
"Of course, a number of festivals happen in India now, but the venue of Ragasthan plays a very important role and it has drawn a lot of people. Even within India, a lot of us don't go to Jaisalmer as tourists. This way, we are doing our bit to add this place to the tourist map," says Keith Menon, one of the organisers of the three-day carnival.
Festival regulars such as Delhi-based bands Menwhopause, Peter Cat Recording Co (PCRC) and Advaita, Bengaluru-based Swarathma, Mumbai-based Sky Rabbit and Bombay Bassment, along with local Rajasthani acts such as kalbeliya dancers and folk musicians, will take centre stage. "We have never played in the middle of a desert before, so we are actually quite thrilled. Also, it will be more intimate than our regular gigs in pubs," says Rohan Kulshreshtha, bassist of PCRC.
Maintaining that this is not "just" a music fest, Menon points out all the other fun stuff on board — one can dress up like a blue-blooded Jaisalmeri, cook a traditional meal, watch a puppet show, take part in the infamous "beendh juloos", watch a cult film in the light of lanterns, sit around a bonfire and narrate ghost stories. Also, peep through a telescope, go through comic books and spend time sand sliding and sandboarding or just paint under the shade of the art tent.
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