The impending year-end has everyone flurrying to gather up the highlights of the past, and as the lists proclaiming the ‘best’s and the ‘top’s of the year flood our timelines, somewhere we embark on nostalgic trips down memory lanes ourselves. We race to collect our favourite memories and arrange them in a timeline to sum up the year, a little mental scrapbook of our melodramatic victories and the hasty damage control for our miscalculations and misendeavors. Before you start tearing your hair out over the prospective (read: stressful) New Year’s resolutions (knowing in the pit of your stomach how long they’re going to last) – hold up for a second; the year isn’t over yet.
We have the rest of the best month of the year left. What’s more – this coming weekend is promising to be one of the most epic weekends for arts & culture festivals in the country possibly forever – not to mention some international gigs that promise to be absolute smashers. If you’re looking for a way to round off the year with a celebration that captures the magnitude of a year like this – you’re in for a real treat. Think of it as an all-you-can-eat buffet of festivals lined up just for you. The sheer number of festivals taking place this weekend is mind-boggling – what sort of good karma must we have garnered to be blessed with a shower of gifts like this?
Regardless, epic years deserve fitting celebrations and if this sounds like your cup of whatever you prefer, here’s the bevy of options that beckon:
1. Magnetic Fields Festival
Alsisar Palace, Shekawati, Northern Rajasthan
This is a festival that - in only its second edition - has created a meeting point for underground music enthusiasts with the promise of ‘a visual dream’ in a 17th century palace in Shekawati, Rajasthan. It promises to enthral festival-goers this year again, as it did last year – leaving scores of instant loyalists - with a line-up that includes dubstep god Mala, French dream-pop legend Dream Koala, German Edition Terranova, BeGun, Flava D, My Panda Shall Fly as well as artists from closer home such as Pakistani beatmaker Forever South Rudoh, Sulk Station, Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, DJ Mocity and BASSFoundation Roots, to name a few.
Four creative entities – the folks behind Wild City, Munbir Chawla and Sarah Fatemi, design and fashion brand 11.11 by CellDSGN, those responsible for throwing down mayhem with Grime Riot Disco nights WeThePpl, and production and design firm THOT came together to put together Magnetic Fields festival at the enchanting heritage venue of Alsisar Mahal in Northern Rajasthan last year; a venture born at the confluence of passion and business, and touted as “a unique marriage of contemporary culture with Rajasthani heritage and hospitality”. Not too shabby for a festival in its first edition, right? Headlined by Berlin producer Robert Koch, last year, it featured artists the likes of Berlin-based producer Robert Koch, MC Orifice Vulgatron of Foreign Beggars, Kohra, Sandunes, M Mat and Charlee (of Bhavishyavani Future Soundz), MIDIval Punditz, Shiva Sound System and V.I.V.E.K.
“V.I.V.E.K. is an old-school dubstep producer that I’ve been listening to for a very long time,” Munbir says. “We booked him (last year) because we love his sound, and have always been great fans. What surprised us was the great response to this, and the number of people who were excited and came to watch him. It was quite exhilarating.”
Building an experience as a part of ‘contemporary culture’ and ‘Rajasthani heritage and hospitality’ embrace and make friends, the carnival has the goods ready to charm you senseless with yoga sessions in the morning, on-site workshops with local artisans and Bedouin dens and costume balls - not to mention performances and vibes to blow your mind - that’ll leave you pinching yourself to believe you’re really there.
This is where you need to be if: You’ve ever been fond of escapism - of escaping to a new place with the promise of wonderland-like experiences, and quality music you’re unlikely to overhear at your nearest watering hole - this is one you’re not going to want to miss out on. This year’s festival also has a collaboration with NorBlack NorWhite, with a special range of outfits available exclusively at the venue. As if all of this weren’t reason enough to attend, there’s a meteor shower happening on the 13th night, that goes on until the wee hours of the morning, with astronomers to help you gaze into the void through their telescopes from the heart of a desert.
Dates: 12th to 14th December 2014
Timings: Starts at 5pm on Friday, 12th December, till 2am on Sunday, 14th December.
Tickets here - that’s right you can still make it!
Accommodation: As for December 4th, all the palace rooms and 4-person tents are sold out, there were a handful of 3-person and 2-person tents left, and of course - the happy camper who are thinking of bringing your own tent will find plenty of room here.
II. Unbox Festival
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
Disciplines like design, culture, technology, social innovation and art eschew the trappings of boundaries here, bound together by the spirit of collaboration and the element of interaction at its crux; a pulsating meeting point of creativity. The festival will destroy any preconceived notions of conventional conferences you might harbour, and has evolved today into a forum that accepts the participant’s rightful place as a part of the festival, dispensing of their roles as mere spectators they are generally accorded. Co-founded and organised by Codesign, Quicksand, Basic Love of Things (BLOT) and Blind Boys, UnBox, this edition of the festival is to be held at the picturesque Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in Delhi. A packed schedule boasts of various hands-on workshops with an out-of-the-box (surprise, surprise) approach beckons – think interactive workshops and masterclasses, a stimulating mix of panel discussions spanning topics as diverse as space travel and street medicine, hackathons, culinary explorations, innovative exhibitions and performances designed in sync with one another, with a focus on participation and incubating new projects. This year’s theme “All Together Now” bestows cohesion upon this creative powerhouse of an event, with the most dynamic practitioners from India and abroad coming together to pull it off.
New Delhi-based visual artist, designer and researcher, Avinash Kumar officially clocks in as a mad maximalist when you realise that he’s also the co-founder of three creative practices – all set up with a larger collective of artists and friends. These include Quicksand, BLOT – Basic Love Of Things, a media and electronic arts collective in which Avinash performs as a visual jockey, and ultimately UnBox.
“I have been working with my partners and team to programme and create the festival,” says Avinash. “This is usually a four-month exercise for us, which is a pretty short time to come up with UnBox! Consequentially it’s pretty much a madhouse for that time. We are a very small team, so everyone really does multiple things. In my instance, I am neck-deep in creating new networks for the festival, engaging with several artists, researchers and institutions to bring their talent and content to the festival. The success of UnBox is squarely dependent on the mix of participants and audiences we can get together. Since UnBox spreads across contexts, the task of programming is a bit challenging because it forces us to dip into many different networks, all with their own protocols and interests.” To add to the complexity of their work, they also see UnBox as an ‘immediate’ experience, by which they want most things to actually occur as a result of being at the festival with others, bouncing ideas and personalities off each other in the hope that new concepts and partnerships would emerge from the festival each consecutive year. With 13 talks, 25 workshops, nine field trips, seven showcases and eight performances over three days scheduled at the event, this is a festival you really don’t want to miss out on.”
This is where you need to be if: Your range of interests is wider than the eye can see and if mental stimulation is what really does it for you - you’ve found a place that’ll welcome you with open arms, armed with range of multi-disciplinary events, installations and performances to leave you slack-jawed, brimming with fodder for creativity and innovation. Check out Homegrown’s top picks from the trail of Unbox’s sublime offerings here, and a detailed schedule here.
Dates: 12th to 14th December 2014
Timings: Check out the schedule here.
Passes are currently sold out but if you can weasel one out of a friend who has other places to be (it’s really his/her loss) - the all-access pass will cost Rs 10,000. Students under the age of 25 can get an all-access pass for Rs 6,000.
III. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014
Where: 1/1903, Kunnumpuram Road, Kunnumupuram, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala
The sphere of contemporary art isn’t to be left behind this weekend either with this international exhibition taking things up a notch. The real magic of festivals perhaps lies in how much they stimulate the imagination of visitors, and with Indian and international artists exhibiting artworks across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art - contemporary art finds a versatile celebration here, in the backdrop of the modern metropolis of Kochi, and its mythical predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris. Seminars, screenings, workshops and music make for the final flourish for this classy extravaganza.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale draws on the rich tradition of public action in Kerala to become a platform for cultural and artistic engagement with its host city being proving to be particularly fitting, as there is ‘an intimate relation between the idea and the ambition of the Biennale and its location in Kochi.’ Home to diverse communities both from within India and outside, this cosmopolitanism possibly derives from its continuity with the ancient port of Muziris, today covered and preserved by mud and mythology. This alternative cosmopolitanism is the essence of what the Biennale looks to invoke with the curious hyphenation.
Curated this year by Jitish Kallat, their curatorial note intrigues as it elaborates on the concept, “Two chronologically overlapping, but perhaps directly unrelated, historical episodes in Kerala during the 14th to 17th Centuries become parallel points of departure for Whorled Explorations. Drawing from them, allusions to the historical and the cosmological recur throughout the exhibition like exaggerated extensions to gestures we make when we try to see or understand something. We either go close to it or move away from it in space, to see it clearly; we also reflect back or forth in time to understand the present. Whorled Explorations draws upon this act of deliberation, across axes of time and space to interlace the bygone with the imminent, the terrestrial with the celestial.”
In an interactive session with the reporters and media Mr. Kallat said that he was “honored and privileged” to accept the role of the curator, and that he is looking forward to “the second edition of the Biennale, since the first edition showed us the scale of how art is perceived and it promised to return every two years. This return is required for the Biennale to develop its unique grammar and vocabulary.”
The inaugural edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale last year ran for a whopping 96 days curated by artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, featuring 89 artists from 23 different countries, including 44 artists from India. The second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will open on December 12, 2014 and will run for 108 days till March 29, 2015. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 is curated by Jitish Kallat.
This is where you need to be if: the idea of an art festival by a potpourri of Indian and international artists excites you, coupled with a location that’ll have you reimagining the history of a city, from its fascinating mythological roots.
Dates: 12th December, 2014 to March 29, 2015 - that’s a whole 108 days so make it happen!
Conatact this number for more details: +91 484 2215297
Passes are free - what are you waiting for?
IV. Vh1 Supersonic Arcade: Major Lazer India Tour
Where: RICHARDSON & CRUDDAS (1972) LTD. Sir JJ Road, Byculla, Mumbai – 400 008.
When Oji put out this invitation to Major Lazer late last year, in the hopes that the multi-genre twerk trinity, one of the world’s most progressive and entertaining in the electronic music circuit, would bring their staged chaos to India, it was a long shot. Flash forward one year later, and it turns out that the #chutneyhype is real. The three-way Moombahton, Reggae, Electro, Trap party is headed to our shores and it’s making musical history even before it’s gotten here - and it’s all going to go down in just a couple of hours with Bombay first up.
Diplo, Walshy Fire and The Jillionaire as Major Lazer will hit the stage tonight at Richardson & Cruddas for the Vh1 Supersonic Arcade, with Engine-Earz, Orifice Vulgatron and B.R.E.E.D. opening the Mumbai show. Major Lazer is all set to tour Delhi and Bangalore after this as well, as a part of the Vh1 Supersonic pre-parties leading up to the festival at the end of the year.
In lieu of the epic celebration that’s in store, DJ/Producer Su-Real offered to introduce Major Lazer to Homegrown’s readers in the only way he knew how—fanboy style. Once you’re done reading this, you’ll realize why it would have been enormously stupid of us to turn it down.
This is where you need to be if: dancehall tunes, reggae jams, electronic gigs, garage house vibes, bass music, raves - or even EDM, sound good to you - you are ready for Major Lazer, and you deserve to be a part of this milestone gig; so get free and show up to represent everything that is dynamic and versatile in music.
Dates: Major Lazer’s going to be starting the fyah back-to-back starting on the 12th of December, 2014 in Mumbai, the 13th in Delhi and 14th in Bangalore.
Timings: 5pm for all three days
By some miracle, tickets are still available here and at the door as well so even if you make up your mind last minute - show up!
V. Bonobo Live @ Johnnie Walker: The Journey, Mumbai
Where: Mehboob Studio Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 400050
Remember the frenzy when the rumour began doing the rounds on social media? Its climax culminated in a celebratory roar from music enthusiasts everywhere as we realised that it was now possible to experience a sound that many of us have listened to for years in our earphones, in an entirely different way, thanks to Mumbai-based Oranjuice Entertainment.
British producer and DJ Simon Green, better known by his stage name, Bonobo, has been in the spotlight since his first foray into the music world in 1999, with his debut ‘Terrapin’ being his low-key first release under the moniker, followed up by his highly-acclaimed debut album, ‘Animal Magic’ the next year. He has consistently and emphatically delivered album after album since then, his last being the orchestral, chiming ‘North Borders’ leaving legions of loyalists in its wake. In his debut tour in India, he is going to be playing a live set, accompanied by Grammy Award-winning nu-jazz outfit Snarky Puppy, Australian theatre company Dislocate’s production - “If These Walls Could Talk”, and Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts.
The atmospheric and multi-faceted downtempo of Bonobo is all set to enthral audiences with its complex and heavy basslines, played by a full band led by Simon Green.
This is where you need to be if: you have ever loved everything in music that is honest and resounding, complex and layered and completely enchanting. Even if you’ve never heard Bonobo before - this would be your cue to start.
Dates: 13th December, 2014
Timings: It’s 5PM, 5:45PM & 7:30PM, depending on which performances you want to land up for - the details of which can be viewed here.
Tickets: It’s really no surprise that tickets are all sold out, but scores of people are still scrambling to (mostly) buy and (misguidedly) sell them - so if you play your cards right, you might manage to hustle one in the next 24 hours. Good luck on that one!
VI. The Greenville Experience
Where: Garden of Five Senses & O Bar, Saket, New Delhi
Behind the experience is their aim is to create and grow a green, music and culture festival which has its very foundation deeply rooted in promoting and propagating the need for environmental conservation, a milestone moment with regard to the immense attention to detail The Greenville Experience is dedicating to negating its carbon footprint. This one’s a pathbreaker - for the first time in India, a festival that pays as much attention to its line-up as to environmental-efficient practises. With a vision to ‘to disperse green thoughts through more conscious and environmentally sound experiences/events,’ these guys deserve a standing ovation.
’The festival itself is a manifestation of the larger thought process; a celebration, which is meant to embody what the idea behind ‘The Greenville Initiative’, really is. We concluded that since music brings people together; why not use this very force to plant greener seeds into the minds of the audience.’
‘The Greenville Experience’ is unrelenting in its efforts to be the change they want to see, while still having an epic party - they are truly the first music festival in India based on the want to give and change lives. Through the initiative they will also help in providing electrical sustainability to schools and villages through solar energy, in various parts across India. The line-up includes the likes of H.U.V.A. Network (Ultimae Records, France), Aes Dana (Ultimae Records, France) (LIVE), Mahiane (Ultimae Records, France), wAgA wAgA (Acroplane Recordings, UK) (LIVE) and Shantam (Maia Brasil Records, India).
This is where you need to be if: you believe in the idea of keeping it green, and the idea of a good time sans damage to the environment sounds like a plan to you. A guilt-free weekend plan awaits.
Dates: 12th-14th December, 2014
Timings: It’s 4PM from the 12th to 1AM on the 14th
Tickets: Right here, you don’t have to think twice.
VII. The Hip Hop Carnival, Kolkata
Where: Hide Map Maddox Square Ballygunge, Calcutta, India 700025
Started back in 2012, HHC has always believed in togetherness of the community and with the hip-hop taking the city by storm, the third edition of HHC is back with a lot of surprises in tow. Thinking b-boying, popping, locking and breaking like you’ve never seen before with enthusiasts from Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore and the Northeast landing up to bust out some jaw-dropping moves.
With the aim is to unite all the artists of the community together on a single day and spread the real meaning - and love for - hip-hop, the events taking place this year include 1-on-1 popping, 3-on-3 breaking, 2-on-2 all-style with on-the-spot registrations. The city has been witness to some insane rapping, beatboxing and b-boying in past editions so start getting warmed up for this round, which also features freestyle cycling, freestyle football and freestyle biking and stunts.
This is where you need to be if: beatmakers and hip-hop vibes are right up your alley, or even if you’d like to witness some freestyling show-downs from enthusiasts from all over the country.
Dates: 13th December, 2014
Timings: Kicks off at noon.
VIII. RESET Chennai
Where: Hide Map Confluence Banquets & Resort ECR-OMR Junction , Mamallapuram, Mamallapuram 603104
Get on your dancing shoes - a celebration of quality homegrown talent beckons at RESET, an electronic dance festival spread across various cities, with ‘each gathering unique in scope and international in vision’. The massive party has a line-up including Kohra, Arjun Vagale, Arjun Hora, Tapan Raj and Oozendat, with visual mavericks Wolves and lights by Ground Kontrolle, the details of which have been released by UnMute Agency and Phoenix Live.
‘The showcase, which made its debut in Hyderabad earlier this year, aims to be a more discernible medium for experiencing left-field genres of electronic music. The first edition of RESET featured some of India’s most cutting-edge electronic acts, such as Arjun Vagale, Anil Chawla, Adam and Kohra, playing back-to-back sets, and was attended by over 1,500 people. The second edition of RESET took place in Hyderabad on November 1, and hit Bangalore for the first time on November 15.’
This is where you need to be if: if you believe in less talking, more dancing.
Dates: 13th December, 2014