Rhythm, pure emotion, and wailing guitar solos — it is that time of the year again. Asia’s largest blues music festival, Mahindra Blues Festival (MBF), returns to India for its eleventh native edition on February 11 and 12, 2023, at Mumbai's iconic venue, Mehboob Studio.
MBF has been celebrated as India’s blues mecca, attracting regular attendees from India and around the world. It is considered one of the country’s most important musical landmarks, offering an amalgamation of established and rising blues acts. The festival is also held twice a year in Chicago at Buddy Guys Legends Club, demonstrating its worldwide appeal.
The Mahindra Blues has continued to promote a mix of music while staying true to major Blues acts. The 2023 edition is especially special and I jumped up in joy when I heard this year’s headliner. It is none other than the bonafide Blues legend and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Buddy Guy. Even at the age of 85, you’re damn right he has got the blues. fIt is an honor for our country as this will be the final Indian tour of one of blues music’s all time greats, whose dramatic, eye-catching smile with a polka-dot Strat still captivates many.
Buddy Guy will share the stage with prominent Indian and international musicians, including Arinjoy Sarkar and the Arinjoy Trio, Ivan Singh, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, and Taj Mahal, creating soulful compositions that will keep the crowd moving well into the night. This melodic circus will be accompanied by a festive vibe across Mehboob Studio’s stages,courtyard, and garden, plus world-class food courts and malts, making it an unparalleled feast.
True to tradition, the festival has also recently opened entries for the Mahindra Blues Band Hunt, laying the foundation stone for the country’s blues melodies once more. Through this initiative, new Indian blues artists will be discovered, encouraged, and provided with a platform to showcase their talent alongside international music legends on stage and across borders digitally via the world’s largest blues community, The Mahindra Blues community, which has a following of more than 2,00,000 people.
"As a genre, the fundamental quality of blues music is its ability to encourage diversity—a quality that resonates across geographic regions, ages, genders, and thoughts. We as a company believe deeply in the benefits of a pluralistic culture that the Blues embody fully. Along with our very loyal audience, we too look forward to a couple of days of outstanding music and unparallel showmanship in a world-class ambiance at the iconic Mehboob Studios. It is no wonder then that the response each year to the Mahindra Blues Festival is nothing short of remarkable; it has a unique ability to bring people together in ways that no other can."
Jay Shah, Vice President , Cultural Outreach, Mahindra Group
Over the years, regulars of the festival have been treated to the performances of greats like John Mayall, Jimmie Vaughan, Taj Mahal, Charlie Musselwhite, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Billy Gibbons, Beth Hart, Johnny Lang, Matt Schofield, Ana Popovic, Shemekia Copeland and a host of others. The MBF is, in essence, all about celebrating the blues’ past, present and future - about exalting its legacy, while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to the soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip hop, and more genres.
You can find out more about the festival here.