Music Festivals In India That Every Music Enthusiast Must Attend!
Music has the power to heal the soul and pull distant hearts together. Listening to music on a phone or on television is the way to relax for many people. However, only a real music fan would understand the bliss of listening to music in a live concert. Music festivals are organised in various parts of India where singers and musicians from across the globe, showcase their talent. For travellers and music lovers, this proves as a golden opportunity as they get to explore new places along with enjoying the diverse mix of music.
Here are 26 Best Music Festivals in India that you must attend:
One of the biggest music festivals in the country, the Hornbill Music Festival is a seven-day cultural fest that takes place amid the scenic vistas of Kohima in December every year. The festival is an initiative of the state government of Nagaland to display the talent of the diverse multi-ethnic tribes of Nagaland to the world. It is a platform for upcoming Northeast bands and artists to meet musicians coming from different parts of the country.
Set in the magnificent Alsisar Mahal in Shekhawati, Rajasthan, Magnetic Fields is a stunning three-day music festival set in between the grandeur of golden triangle formed by Bikaner, Jaipur and Delhi. The festival is held in December. Over the years, Magnetic Fields has earned the reputation of a boutique festival experience in India. The fest aims at promoting the freshest sounds from the country and offers them a platform to break into the music industry by pitching them alongside music legends.
Held at an altitude of 5,500 feet in Ziro valley, the Ziro Festival takes place in September drawing thousands of tourists who love the setting of beautiful mountains and pine trees. The festival aims to encourage fellowship between musicians of Northeast India. Ever since its launch in 2012, the Ziro Festival has served as a platform for artists to meet other artists. Arunachal Pradesh's idyllic location proves to be perfect for such a friendly and eco-friendly event.
4. Ragasthan, Jaisalmer
Set in the dunes of Jaisalmer, it is a three-day musical gala that renders an exhilarating experience of camping in the mighty Thar Desert under the sky lit by stars and digging in authentic Rajasthani cuisine. The festival promotes eco-friendly tourism and encourages the preservation of Rajasthani culture. Organizers do not reveal the line-up of performances as they want to draw the audience on the sheer quality of performances and not the big names. The festival promises performances filled with aural and visual excellence.
Asia's biggest Blues music festival, Mahindra Blues takes place in Mumbai every February. The festival has been promoting the local blues community by bringing already established blues artists from the world over and budding blues artists in India on a common platform. Tourists can also take pleasure in local food and bustling nightlife of the city along with this elite music festival.
Celebrating various music genres like folk, indie and electronic; this music festival is organised in the outskirts of Bangalore for three dazzling nights. Held in January each year, Storm is known for its vast lush venue which offers a unique mix of adventure sports along with live music. The fest serves as an example of an event with a cause as along with entertainment the festival promotes environmental sustainability within its venue. Efficient waste management, recycling used products, and a strict no-plastic policy is the characteristics of this eco-friendly music festival.
The magnificent music festival is touted to be the best-organised indie music festival in India, thanks to superior production quality and an impressive assortment of artists. The music extravaganza boasts of top-notch security, health facilities, information booths, toilets, food and drinks. The performances here are a mix of rock, indie, metal and ethnic fusion music. NH7 takes place in the cities of Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi for three days.
Displaying the traditional folk music and arts of Rajasthan, this international folk music festival takes place at glorious Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur every October and is organised during the time of Sharad Purnima, the brightest full moon night of the year. The festival provides an open stage to acclaimed folk artists and musicians from India and abroad. RIFF's sole aim has been to familiarise the world with the traditional Rajasthani musical heritage.
9. Escape, Naukuchiatal
Around 80 musicians decided to get away from New Delhi for a few days and chose a resort in the Himalayas to spend their days. Their escape led to the birth of Escape music festival. It is a three-day fest held at the Lake Resort in Naukuchiatal near Nainital. The festival features artists, bands, performance artists, photographers, painters, graffiti artists, tattoo artists, writers and potters together in this extravaganza of talent. Escape is known for its quality music and hypnotic atmosphere and not for celebrities.
10. Fireflies, Bangalore
It is an organic music festival that is set up under a banyan tree in an open-air amphitheatre nearby a lake in the outskirts of Bangalore. The festival is an experience which connects the soul with nature. Representing an amalgamation of western jazz with tribal folk music, reputed and less known artists perform together on a single stage from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM. The festival attracts thousands of tourists who are fans of organic vibe.
Taking place in the Sula Vineyards of Nasik, this fest is a mix of electronic music, dubstep, and reggae. Wine runs in abundance at this celebration of music, fashion and leisure. In a bid to add a health quotient to the event, the new edition of Sula Fest has collaborated with Yoga House which would introduce sunrise yoga sessions to the audience in open grounds. Myriad of recreational activities such as hot air balloon rides, foot massages, wine tasting tours, tarot card readers and flea market stalls are a part of this leisurely event.
12. Rang, New Delhi
The festival celebrates the spirit of music with the colours of Holi in the capital city of Delhi. Vibrant colours, water splashes, exotic cocktails and exclusive Holi special delicacies are part of this festive event. The unique music festival promises an ultimate electronic music experience. Various reputed international and Indian artists perform here.
Organised in the beautiful town of Kasauli, the fest is a musical concoction of Funk, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Folk Rock, Electro-Rock-Folk and Fusion. The festival takes place at the scenic Baikunth resorts in April. The festival renders a 'Woodstock-y' vibe and works towards spreading awareness about the critically ill and underprivileged children. The organisers represent mature and serious music rather than popular and casual music.
The crazy musical party brings together the finest artists of Psy-Trance, Trance, Hi-Tech, electronic, rock, jazz, fusion, classical, R&B and folk music. Taking place in the fascinating landscape of Manali in September, the music fest is one of a kind in the entire country. It is an attempt to unite like-minded individuals and to promote a deep understanding of psychedelic culture. Held away from the crowded areas of Manali, Shiva Squad Festival aims to develop social harmony and artistic expression among people coming from different walks of life.
15. GoMad Fest, Ooty
This three-day musical carnival is held in the wilderness of Nilgiri hills in Ooty in October. From Fusion to Pop, Electronica to Metal, the GoMad festival has diverse kinds of music performances. The fest features no headline creating acts but celebrates the beauty of art. It puts forward the little-known music bands that offer soulful renditions to the lovers of music. The vast venue of Fern Hills Palace hosts the event and offers recreational activities like paintball, coffee lounge, kids play zone, various food stalls and an open bar in the woods.
16. Holi Cow, New Delhi
Immersed in the colours of Holi, this music fair is celebrated in Delhi. The colourful festival features Dancehall, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Electronic, Indie and Experimental music. Visual dance performances take the celebration to another level. It is a single day outdoor event that takes place on Holi. People can indulge in a wide assortment of art, culture, food, music and dancing organised on three stages.
Set near the gushing river Ganges in the spiritual city of Rishikesh, the Woods Talk Festival follows the concept of camping music festivals observed in European countries. Camps are set up 45 km ahead of Rishikesh in the woods of Mahadev Chatti. The event mixes mind-boggling adventure and outdoor activities with electrifying music. Folk performances, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Electronica and DJs are on the palette for the tourists attending this exciting music festival. The event is set for November this year.
18. Mood Indigo, Mumbai
One of the oldest music festivals in the country, IIT Bombay organises this annual music fest that brings together India's most sought after music bands. Students from over 1650 colleges of India perform at this massively popular music festival. The festival is famous for bringing the famous Porcupine Tree to the country. The organisers promote the social cause of blood donation in the event to spread awareness about this humanitarian act. The four-day long event takes place at the end of December each year.
Showcasing an eclectic mix of Classical, Folk, Sufi, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Indie and Fusion music in March, the Gulmarg Winter Fest is a celebration of winter sports, music, vibrant cultures and sumptuous food in the lap of breathtaking snow-clad peaks of Himalayas. Gulmarg snow festival was started in 2003 to promote tourism in Kashmir. The festival lasts for two days and is organised by the tourism ministry of Jammu and Kashmir in the end of December each year.
20. Tansen Music Festival, Gwalior
The Annual Tansen Music Festival is held here in the month of November when prominent musicians from all over the country come and perform various classical shows in the backdrop of the Tomb of Tansen.
In 2018, Tansen Samaroh will begin on Friday, 21 December and end on Wednesday, 26 December
21. Enchanted Valley Carnival, Pune
The first of its kind in Asia, the Enchanted Valley Carnival is India’s largest music festival that is held on an airstrip located amidst the beautiful hills of Aamby Valley in Pune. With five stages, groove to artists from genres ranging from Bollywood, metal, electronic to jazz, folk and rock. This two-day festival held in December every year also includes various adventure activities like rock climbing, bungee jumping, zip lining and more, to give attendees an experience to remember. And for food, visit the ‘Culinarium’, which are the food stalls that serve everything from street cuisine to gourmet classics.
22. Road to Ultra, Mumbai, Delhi
Fans were shaking in excitement as THE Ultra Music Festival has finally made its way into Indian soil with its global leg of the tour, Road to Ultra. Being one of the largest electronic festivals in the world, they didn’t disappoint with the first ever event that was held in 2017 in Mumbai and Delhi, by including global electronic duo, the Chainsmokers in the lineup. This one-day festival is packed with performances from some of the biggest names in the Indian and global EDM industry.
A perfect blend of Chennai’s beach life and the crazy EDM vibe, the Go: Madras festival has come a long way since its fruition back in 2009. Held in September each year, it's set in the beautiful historical city of Mahabalipuram and radiates a laid-back vibe when compared to the other EDM festivals. But apart from the music, music aficionados get to experience some great water activities like jet skiing and boat rides as well. Another benefit? It’ is located 2 hours from Chennai and Pondicherry, so give them a visit as well.
24. VH1 Supersonic, Pune
Held in February in Pune annually, VH1 Supersonic had a lineup of some of the top international electronic artists and with special performances as well. They had the timeless Incubus perform in 2017. And as of 2018, the festival is opening its stages to artists from multiple genres as well. So you can expect the most prominent names from jazz, rock, pop, reggae, indie and more. Keep this one on the ‘Must Do’ list.
25. Puravankara Indigo and Blues Festival, Bangalore
With all those EDM festivals out there, let’s give those Jazz and Blues music enthusiasts a celebration to hype over. The blues hit Bengaluru with the renowned international labels and also provides local jazz and blues bands a platform. With a groovy atmosphere, the festival gives attendees much to appreciate about the growing blues scene in India.
26. Electric Daisy Carnival, Delhi
The Electric Daisy Carnival has been held globally for the past 20 years with an impressive lineup of some of the biggest names in EDM and has graced India with its presence in Delhi in 2016. With the eccentric stage set up with its neon lights and the burst of colours and experiences, the festival boasts of an experience that will give attendees a weekend to remember.
India has always been a land of musical celebrations with some ancient scriptures specifically dedicated to music. Over the years, western music has made its way to the Indian music scene, and talented artists are combing traditional Indian music with western to create something truly magical.