Music’s Meeting Ground
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Last week, some of the most popular musicians in the country played alongside some fairly unknown ones at the first edition of the three-day Ziro Festival of Music in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. This gave thousands of people the chance to visit a location they might never have otherwise. Apart from its success as a music festival, it also did a great deal for tourism in that part of the country. "The tourism ministry wants to support it and make it as an annual affair now," says Anup Kutty, co-organiser of the festival and guitarist for the Delhi-based alternative rock band, Menwhopause.
By doing so, the Ziro festival achieved what it had set out to, which was to "facilitate an exchange of ideas". The element of tourism was essential to the festival because, as Kutty puts it, "You can't randomly descend on a village and have a festival there". Therefore, the locals were very closely involved with the festival.
Although the Ziro festival may have been a first in many respects, it now joins a steadily growing list of festivals in the country. They range from multi-genre affairs to those that focus solely on electronic dance music (EDM), folk or rock. For instance, in February there's Sulafest in Nashik, the fifth edition of which was held this year and was, for the first time, a two-day affair. In May, the fourth edition of Escape festival was held in Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, and was as well-received as its first three editions. August saw the third edition of a comparatively lesser-known festival, the Indrasan Festival in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh, which is an EDM-only event. The last few months of the year will see the fifth edition of the day-long Rock 'N India festival in Bengaluru in October and NH7 Weekender, which is being held in three cities for the first time this year including Pune. Apart from the coming NH7 festival, Pune also hosted the fourth edition of Baajaa Gaajaa, an annual Indian and Indie music festival in February this year. Curated by musicians Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan , the festival featured both Indian acts such as Adil and Vasundhara, Arjun Verman and Avyakta, and international artistes such as Ben Walsh from Australia. Ruhaniyat is another travelling music festival that comes to Pune every year. One of the biggest Sufi music festivals, Ruhaniyat featured sufi maestros such as Parvathy Baul, the Warsi Brothers, Ateeq Hussain Khan and others in a concert earlier this year.
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