When festivals such as the Bacardi NH7 Weekender (Pune) is celebrating its 10th year in action and Rajasthan’s experiential gathering Magnetic Fields is looking to sell out tickets for its seventh edition, there are still plenty of new (and almost new) entrants who are starting off with promise. Here’s looking at five that ought to be fixtures in any gig-goer’s annual calendar.
Neon East Festival
October 12-13, JIO Garden, Mumbai
For the debut edition of this two-day festival targeting “urban millennials”, there might not be the biggest names on offer, but certainly the hottest alternative artists in the world right now. It includes lauded producer Mura Masa (who has worked with everyone from pop songstress Charli XCX to funk legend Nile Rodgers and rapper Stormzy), electronic group Little Dragon, Thai neo-soul singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit, and many more.
November 23-24, Mumbai
For the third edition of their indoor festival, Mumbai-based music management company Mixtape will keep their focus on bringing down cutting-edge DJ-producers (the 2018 edition included trip-hop act Zero 7’s Sam Hardaker), and offering a next-level stage production experience at the newly-opened warehouse venue, antiSOCIAL, in Lower Parel. The lineup includes mysterious left-field Indian producer Babloo Babylon, American producer Machinedrum, veteran London house/garage DJ EZ, rising DJ-producer Jubilee, Mumbai’s finest electronic artists OX7GEN, and Sandunes, amongst others, across two days.
OnePlus Music Festival
November 16, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
Tickets: ₹3,000 onward
One could consider tech giant OnePlus’s star-studded entry into the music festival game with the same scepticism as 2016’s Global Citizen Festival, but we hope there is a long-term plan. After all, they’ve not only booked pop artist and vocal powerhouse Katy Perry but also rising chart-busting pop singer Dua Lipa for her India debut. The festival will also offer a big arena-level audience to the country’s leading rock acts, The Local Train and Aswekeepsearching, as well as producer Ritviz.
October 16-19, Ukhrul, Manipur
A part of the Shirui Lily Festival — which raises awareness about the endangered flower species in Manipur — the rock festival first found its bearing in 2017. While last year they hosted American prog/metal masters Queensryche, the third edition includes headline performances by Scottish metal veterans Nazareth and American rock/metal party starters Extreme, best known for songs like ‘More Than Words’.
January 11-12, The Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru
Originating in Amsterdam, DGTL is a travelling electronic music festival that also puts the spotlight on arts and sustainability. After editions in Spain, Chile, Brazil and Israel, the India debut comes in Bengaluru early next year. Expect not just innovative event production technology that reduces negative environmental impact, but also outstanding audio-visual sets from electronic music artists such as Germany’s Sven Väth, Austrian duo HVOB, and Israeli indie/electronic act Red Axes.