For true music lovers, music festivals are like a pilgrimage. Listening to music can be a solitary activity, however, it becomes a whole new experience when it becomes a shared pleasure. While some festivals cater to specific interests and genres of music, the best are those that offer the temptation of the unknown.
You can combine your love for music and travel with this list of music festivals held across India. With music ranging from classical to electronic, and locations as varied as remote valleys and busy cities, these festivals are guaranteed to make it a memorable experience.
- Hornbill Music Festival:
A week-long cultural fest, the Hornbill Music Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Held in December in scenic Kohima, you can get to witness the biggest rock contest in the country. An initiative of the state government of Nagaland, Hornbill Music Festival is a platform for upcoming bands and artists from different parts of the country, as well as an opportunity to learn about the rich cultural heritage of Nagaland. The 2017 edition will be held between December 1st and 10th, so get your bags ready!
With Arunachal Pradesh’s stunning Ziro Valley as the location, this popular music festival consistently features rich lineups of established and emerging electronic, rock, and indie musicians from across the globe. Launched in 2012, the Ziro Festival takes place in September and draws visitors who love the setting of the paddy fields, misty mountains, and lush forests. This experience can be refreshing which you shouldn’t miss.
Another musical festival that is taking the country by storm and drawing people to the sand dunes of Rajasthan is Ragasthan. The three-day musical gala that renders an exhilarating experience of camping in the Thar Desert under the starlit skies. Held in November near Jaisalmer, Ragasthan also promotes eco-friendly tourism and encourages the preservation of Rajasthani culture. The 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. If you like your music experience filled with visual excellence, Ragasthan is the place to be.
Sunburn is no stranger to music lovers in India. Having achieved a cult status, the festival pulls in some of the biggest names in the electronic dance music industry and usually closes the year around the New Year. Originally held at Goa, the main focus has shifted from the beaches to the hills around Pune. Sunburn continues to be a mammoth party. Dynamic crowds, big-name lineups, and stunning locations, Sunburn’s grand event is a perfect option if you are looking to combine music, dance, travel, and a memorable New Year’s Eve experience. This year’s edition will be headlined by EDM superstars like DJ Snake and Martin Garrix. Excited? We are for sure!
- Mahindra Blues Festival:
Catering specifically to the niche musical genre, Mahindra Blues Festival takes place in Mumbai every February. Asia’s biggest blues music festival has brought in blues artists from across the world, including the likes of the legendary Buddy Guy. Mahindra Blues Festival also promotes budding blues artists in India and allows them to share the platform. Take pleasure in local food and bustling nightlife of the city along with this elite music festival which spans across two days. The 2018 edition is scheduled to be held on the weekend of February 3rd and 4th.
Held across multiple locations across India, the NH7 festival is among the best-organized indie music festivals. The music extravaganza boasts of top-notch security, health facilities, information booths, food, and drinks to make this mega party a worthy experience. What’s more? The culture of the NH7 weekender spans over comic, theatre, stand-ups, dance, graffiti and art. In case you are wondering about the music, yes, that’s always the highlight of the shows with lineups that rarely disappoint. The next festival is scheduled to be held in Pune between December 8th and 10th, so book your ticket already!
This is not an exhaustive list, as there are plenty of music festivals worth traveling for. Here are some of the other festivals worthy of a mention:
- Jodhpur Rajasthan International Folk Festival – Held at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort, the festival provides a stage for folk artists and musicians from India and across the world.
- Sulafest – A two-day annual event held at the Sula Vineyards in Nasik offers a mix of music, food, and of course, wine.
- Magnetic Fields – The multi-genre music and arts festival is set within the 17th-century Alsisar Mahal in Shekhawati, Rajasthan.
- Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival – Surrounded by the snow-capped peaks around Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, the Rhythm & Blues Festival is a multi-genre festival.
- Enchanted Valley Carnival – The scenic mountains around Aamby Valley is home to this multi-genre festival. From from techno to Bollywood, there is something for everyone.
Check your calendars, book your ticket, pack the bags, and head out to the world of music.