Some weekends creep into our lives very deliberately. Slowly, at first. You hear whispers about a music festival. ‘A pretty chill scene’, quips your co-worker who is about 40% headphones and 60% cynicism. ‘Oh dude, such good vibes!’, claims the guy who lives down your hall. You’re intrigued.
And then, the information comes rolling in. Been around since 2010? Hosted some of the biggest names in the international circuit? Happiest music festival? What do you mean ‘drinking out of buckets’?
If your curiosity has been piqued even a bit, consider it. Consider spending a weekend on fields, spread over five stages, listening to some fantastic music with a bunch of friendly strangers. Strangers become friends over common interests, and is there a feeling more inclusive than singing a song in a crowd, and looking over to the people next to you just in time to see them wipe tears off?
Nh7 Weekender is fun. It’s a lot of fun. I have attended the festival every year since 2012, and every year has been better than the last.
Consider attending Nh7 Weekender for the vibe.
Nh7 comes as the near-perfect antidote to the drudgery of everyday life in the city. It comes with the promise of two/three days (location depending) of no bullshit. No frantic texts about something beyond your control, no meetings about something that could have been clarified over an email, and no ‘working hard or hardly working?’ jokes. Everyone is looking to have a good time, and everyone is. Happiness is the only thing that will break through your outer shell that weekend.
Consider attending Nh7 Weekender for the music.
What kind of music are you into? There are no wrong answers. Just tell me what kind of music you’re into. Whatever your answer might be – from the most obscure shoegaze to heavy, ‘I’m gonna need a Dolo 650 after this’ trash metal, to the most common Bollywood music – Nh7 has you covered. Not only does the festival provide the widest range of artistes to satisfy your widest range of auditory requirements, the festival is organized in such an effective, schematic fashion that no two artistes can clash. Scheduling a large number of artists in seven hours is a Herculean task, and the organizers have always excelled at it. Stages are set at good distances away from each other, so you are not subjecting to faint strings of bansuri while you’re headbanging. Although, as I write that, it doesn’t sound too bad.
Nh7 excels at curating performers for their audience as well. The festival has brought down names like Flying Lotus, Megadeath, Karnivool, Imogen Heap, Basement Jaxx, Bombay Bicycle Club, Anoushka Shankar, MUTEMATH, Chase & Status, Mogwai, Mark Ronson, Textures, and so many more. Note the variety of sounds?
Consider attending Nh7 for the local scene.
One of the biggest complaints people have is that there’s ‘no good music happening these days’.
Let’s take a moment to read and consider the massive implication of that statement.
A country of millions, and you’re going to tell me that there’s no good music? That, whatever genre of music I’m into, I’m going to have to resort to musicians from around the globe, because the band that rehearses every night in the building opposite mine just doesn’t cut it?
The indie music scene is India is growing, growing, and growing some more. With its tipping point nowhere in the near horizon, there’s only one way for music in India to go which is up. And most of our independent artistes’ careers have taken off in a massive form post Nh7.
A selection of artistes from the humongous tribe of Indian musicians who have performed at Nh7 includes Bay Beat Collective, Demonic Resurrection, Indian Ocean, The Raghu Dixit Project, Shaa’ir+Func, Pentagram, Dualist Inquiry, Swarathma, Ox7gen, Spud in the Box, Anish Sood, Gandu Circus, Superfuzz, A.R. Rahman, Prateek Kuhad, Karsh Kale Collective, Kohra, Delhi Sultanate, Parvaaz and hundreds more.
You gon’ look at that list of talented musicians and claim that your local scene is dead, while doing nothing to support them? Come on.
Consider attending Nh7 for the cities.
In 2016, Nh7 has gone minimalistic (as minimalistic as an annual, multi-city music festival can get, at any rate), and kept the festival at three cities only – Shillong, Hyderabad, and their launchpad – Pune. With their second round in Shillong and first round in Hyderabad, I imagine the festival is kicked to break new ground.
This year, Nh7 is bringing the grandfather of progressive rock – Steven Wilson – to Shillong and Pune. Indie hidden treasure Jose Gonzales is going to be serenading Pune as well, and Hyderabad is being graced with Dinosaur Pile-Up who have been making noise fun since 2007. Of course, this is the first leg of artistes they have announced. The Nh7 team are rather sneaky with how they reveal some of their biggest names in the weeks coming up to the festival. Keep a look out on all their social media platforms.
Nh7 Weekender stands for community. The festival aims to create an environment of good vibrations, harmony and every other new age sounding word you can think of.
And you know what?
At the festival in Pune, in 2014, Amit Trivedi was on stage. I had been searching for my friends who had decided to get lost in the crowds – something I had stopped myself from doing because ‘safety’, right? I was frantic with anxiety, and tired, and not drunk enough, and I really wanted to sit, and maybe cry some tension out of my body. Then, the first notes of the still-unidentified song started, and the crowd around me started to push to the front, and took me along with them like waves of pressure tend to do. I tried to push back, and turned around to make my way out of the crowd. Then, Amit Trivedi sang ‘Nayan Tarse’, and everything changed.
I sang songs I’d forgotten I knew. I cried my anxiety out. I bellowed the lyrics of songs I loved along with thousands of others, and for a while, I felt less alone.