The number of music festivals in India has increased exponentially in recent years, especially those that cater to independent music. There are only a handful of college festivals that programme Bollywood music
Bacardi NH7 Weekender – The inaugural edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender was held in Pune in 2010, as a primarily multi-genre, indie music festival. It has since become an annual festival, and is now held in Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata, as well as Pune. The festival has multiple stages, depending roughly on genre. While the line-up continues to consist primarily of independent musicians from India and around the world, some hugely popular acts have played at previous editions of the festival as well.
Ziro Festival – Held annually in Arunachal Pradesh’s Ziro Valley since 2012, Ziro Festival has, in two years, become one of the country’s favourite destination/camping festivals. While primarily a multi-genre festival, the line-up mostly comprises bands/artists of the pop/rock variety.
India Bike Week – The first edition of India Bike Week was held in Goa in 2013, and the second earlier this year. The festival caters primarily to bikers and biking enthusiasts, but also includes two stages for music. The line-up is largely multi-genre.
Escape Festival – Held annually in the picturesque hill station of Naukuchiatal, Escape Festival is a multi-genre music and art festival, and is widely considered one of India’s foremost camping festivals.
Sulafest – The seventh edition of Sulafest was held in Nashik earlier this year. In 2013, the festival went from being a single-day event to a two-day event, held over the weekend. The line-up is usually multi-genre, and includes artists from India and around the world.
Ragasthan – The first ever edition of Ragasthan was held in Jaisalmer, and the second earlier this year. This edition was a four day-long affair, and featured three stages, with acts being mostly divided by genres.
Storm Festival – Started as a camping music festival in 2012, Storm Festival – held in Coorg for the first two editions and Bangalore for the third – is a two-day event that has multiple stages, divided on the basis of genre.
Mood Indigo (IIT Mumbai) – Mood Indigo is the annual cultural festival of IIT Bombay, and has been held almost every year since its inauguration in 1971. Over the years, a number of well-known musicians have played at Mood Indigo, with line-ups including Indian independent bands, as well as Hindi pop artists.
www.greatindianrock.in – Popularly known as GIR, this has been the longest running festival and has played a pioneering role to promote independent music in India. Producers RSJ are now reviving the festival in 2015 after a gap of 4 years. The Norwegian cooperation since 2004 helped create a productive tie-up with metal festival INFERNO, Oslo with artist exchange programs and other opportunites of performances and raising skills within the music scene in India.
Mahindra Blues Festival – A two-day festival held in Mumbai every year, the Mahindra Blues Festivals has come to be regarded as among Asia’s biggest blues festivals. The line-up features blues and jazz musicians from India and around the world.
Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival – The third edition of the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival was held earlier this year, with no acts from the previous two editions having been repeated. The line-up primarily features folk, jazz and blues musicians.
Congo Square Jazz Festival/Kolkata Jazz Fest – The Kolkata Jazz Fest is held annually in Kolkata, and was established as a means to promote jazz in India.
Delhi International Jazz Festival – The fourth edition of the Delhi International Jazz Festival was held earlier this year at Nehru Park in New Delhi. The festival features jazz acts from India and around the world.
Goa International Jazz Live Festival – The first edition of the Goa International Jazz Festival was held in Goa in November 2013. It featured jazz musicians from India and from around the world.
Jazz Utsav – The first edition of the Jazz Utsav was held in Delhi in 1984, and called the Jazz Yatra. For the last few years, the festival has been held annually, and rechristened Jazz Utsav. In 2012, the festival was also held in Mumbai and Pune, aside from Delhi. In October 2014, it will only take place in Delhi.
Jus’ Jazz – The first edition of Jus’ Jazz was held in Mumbai and Delhi in November 2012. The line-up featured a number of veteran jazz musicians from around the world, including American guitarist Russell Malone, Russian saxophonist Igor Butman, American vocalist Diane Witherspoon.
Sunburn – Held annually in Goa since 2007, Sunburn has become the country’s most popular EDM festival, and has, over the years, featured some of the most popular DJs from around the world.
Enchanted Valley Carnival – Although only one edition old, Enchanted Valley Carnival, held in Aamby Valley in December 2014, proved to be hugely popular. While the line-up focussed primarily on EDM/electronic music, it also featured some folk, pop/rock bands.
Bass Camp Festival – The first edition of Bass Camp Festival was held in 2010, and it has since established itself as the country’s premier bass heavy electronic music festival. In the years since, it has been held in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Goa and Kolkata.
VH1 Supersonic – VH1 Supersonic was established in December last year, as a five day-long electronic music festival, held in Goa. Some of the most popular DJs and producers from India and around the world featured on the line-up for the festival.
Magnetic Fields – The inaugural edition of Magnetic Fields Festival was held at the picturesque Alsisar Mahal in Rajasthan in December last year, as a three day-long festival. While the line-up primarily consisting of electronic music producers and DJs, it also included some pop/rock bands.
Bangalore Open Air – Established in 2012, Bangalore Open Air has been held annually since, and has come to be recognised as India’s foremost heavy metal music festival.
Inferno Metal Festival – The first edition of the iconic Norwegian metal festival, Inferno Metal Festival, was held in India in February this year. This also marked the first time the festival was held in Asia.
Entombed Metal Festival – The first edition of Entombed Metal Fest was held in Pune in August 2012, followed by a second edition also in Pune, and the subsequent two in Mumbai. The festival primarily serves as a platform for young metal bands in the country.
There are a number of more, smaller metal festivals around the country, most of which feature metal bands from India only.
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Channel V India Fest – The V India Fest is held annually, with a focus on showcasing as well as finding new talent. The events conducted are over a variety of categories, including music, theatre, fashion, sports and more.
A number of college festivals are held across the country, with the biggest being at IIT in Mumbai and Delhi, and IIM in Ahmedabad.
Many college festvals program Bollywood acts. The biggest ones are:
Traditional folk/world music/regional
Hornbill Festival – Hornbill Festival, held in Nagaland every year in December, is the most popular festival in the area. It hosts the hugely popular Hornbill Rock Contest, as well as a music festival featuring bands/musicians from around the country, and a number of traditional musicians from the area as well.
Jaipur Literature Festival – The Jaipur Literature Festival is held in January every year, and has grown into the largest literary festival in Asia. Aside from featuring speakers from around the world, the festival also has a music stage, which primarily plays host to folk, pop and classical musicians.
Jodhpur RIFF – Jodhpur RIFF is the Rajasthan International Folk Festival and is held annually in and around the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. The line-up primarily features a variety of Rajasthani musicians and dancers, among other aritsts.
http://www.lgmf.org – The Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival was established in 1992 by Dr. L. Subramaniam. The festival showcases talent from around the world and provides a platform for different styles of music from around the globe. Till date, the festival has been held in 55 cities across 22 countries and has received tremendous support from the press and public alike, hosting audiences of up to 200,000 people at a single event.
Kolkata International Music Festival – The sixth edition of the Kolkata International Music Festival was held in December last year. Musicians that feature on the line-up for the festival are primarily traditional and folk musicians.
World Sufi Spirit Festival – The World Sufi Spirit Festival, better known as the World Sacred Spirit Festival is held in the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and the Ahhichatragarh Fort in Nagaur. The line-up features sufi, folk and traditional musicians from around the world.
Kenduli Mela – The Kenduli Mela is held every January in the district of Birbhum in West Bengal. Jaydev Kenduli, believed to be the birthplace of the poet Jaydev, is the location for the fair, which celebrates the music of the natives of that area – the Bauls.
Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival – The Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival is held every January in the town of Thiruvaiyaru in Tamil Nadu. The 167th edition of the festival concluded on the 21st of January 2014.
Blue Lotus Festival – The second edition of the Blue Lotus Festival will be held in Rajasthan in October 2014. The festival focuses on Indian sufi, folk, traditional, gypsy, tribal, devotional and spiritual music.
Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan – Shree Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan is believed to be the oldest Indian classical music festival in the world – the last edition of the festival in December last year was its 138th edition. It is held every year at Devi Talab in Jalandhar, near the Samadhi of saint Harballabh.
Madras Music Season – Madras Music Season is a six week-long festival held in Chennai from December to January. When it first began, the festival was about Carnatic music only, but over the years has expanded to include other forms of music as well as dance and drama.
Saptak Festival – The Saptak Sangeet Samaroh or Saptak Music Festival is held annually in Ahmedabad through the 1st – 13th of January. The focus of this festival is solely on Indian classical music.
Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav – The Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav is an Indian classical music festival, organised by Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal every year in Pune since 1953.
The Dover Lane Music Conference – The Dover Lane Music Conference is an annual Indian classical music festival held in Kolkata.