India as a land of festivals is experiencing an encompassing change. Today, the phrase has come to embrace non-religious, cultural, music, art, film, shopping festivals, and more and invites people from every corner of the globe to share in this, our new, global, and welcoming legacy.

The by lanes, streets, and main roads of India are forever vibrating with celebration. Over a billion people have so much to commemorate. But the past decade is witnessing a transcendence. India as a land of festivals has come to embrace so much more than religious festivals like Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Eid, Dusshera, Christmas, and other innumerable festivities of the faithful. The phrase ‘India – the land of festivals’ has slowly begun to change form and recreate itself into a celebration of art, music, culture, talent, and so much else. From the celebration of people through the Goa Carnival, the Hornbill Festival, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival and more; to the vibrancy of art and culture festivals like the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

The India Art Festival, and Taj Mahotsav, among others; to the crescendo of music festivals like the Mahindra Blues Festival, Supersonic, and NH7 Weekender, to name a few; to the many other festivals that populate our landscape; they have changed the face of exotic India as a land of festivals and opened up an ecosystem of discovery through tunes, communities, and exchange of ideas, commodities, and skill sets.

MAGNETIC INDIA

The centuries-old history and culture of India, majestic architectural monuments and museums of Delhi, Agra, and Mumbai have a unique attractive force.

Vladimir Putin

Woodstock, the Glastonbury Festival, Coachella Valley Music, Tomorrowland, the Dubai Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Mardi Gras, Burning Man, the Rio Carnival, Oktoberfest and more, abound the world over. So what is it that draws people to throng by the thousands and millions to festivals held here? India has a rich and vibrant history of revelry, dance, music, and people coming together. It was thereby a natural progression to become a front-runner in art, music, film, and cultural festivals. Also, while, tuning in to a particular sound or experiencing a new culture or even shopping, may often be an activity you might partake of by yourself, it takes on a very distinctive character when it becomes a shared indulgence. Festivals like these encourage seekers of the good life to step forward. They invite the breaking down of barriers - which religious festivals sometimes inadvertently put up; by following this very simple philosophy - ‘Fences don’t work if you’ve got your own plane.’ And that in essence is what cultural, music, film, art, flea, and pop-up festivals do here. They grant access to a wealth of individuals to journey to, attend, participate, showcase their talent, and create a legacy for so many generations.

NEXT STOP: INDIA

There was a naive quality in 1982 around technology. And that's what its like today. There is this statement and, ideologically, these things to fight for.

Thomas Bangalter

India as a land of festivals moving away from just the religious and toward encompassing a new realm, allows for a leveraging of opportunity. It has become about going to battle for music, art, culture, fighting the good fight, and flying a flag for the exoticism and diversity that is actually India. It essentially is about unveiling a scene so dynamic that people want to stop off here on their way to everywhere. Religious festivals do come with a set of limitations and traditions that aren’t always all-inclusive. While the numbers for non-religious festivals do not compare to religious ones, for a lot of festivalgoers, this new breed of festivals offers acceptance, no bar on the way you express yourself, freedom to choose, and a certain unadulterated joy in being able to interpret things your way and in being understood in an ever-changing world.

CREATING ALCHEMY

The alchemy of good curating amounts to this: Sometimes, placing one work of art near another makes one plus one equal three. Two artworks arranged alchemically leave each intact, transform both, and create a third thing.

Jerry Saltz

India is in a pivotal position to organically build something or mimic what’s already there. If we continue mimicking what’s out there already, we will reach the ‘Brazil Challenge’, where festivals in Brazil were forced, due to economics, to develop a homegrown scene, as importing talent slowly became impossible. But they embraced the challenge and began working toward curating a harmony between the festival scene and their nightclub scene. People already look to India in fascination, where the outside of India wants to be a part of the inside. We need to work toward creating a bigger legacy that is all ours and make the ecosystem turn over with fresh talent playing alongside stalwarts. We have achieved this in a few events across the country. As we grow the festival scene in here and fully embrace the contours of this new ‘Land of Festivals’, we need to work toward curating festivals in a more holistic way, through financially viable revenue models, ensuring that they become and remain future proof and that the experience works toward resonating with and activating the end user. And when this is achieved, one has in their hands the perfect recipe for spinning straw into gold.

WELCOMING ALL

I address you all tonight for who you truly are: wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers.

Brian Selznick

The open road is to the wanderer what is the hearth to the settler. For many a person, the creative ember so fundamental to their work and life, is inseparable from the fact that they are constantly on the move and looking for a new experience. Everywhere and nowhere, at home in the world, they soak up inspiration from the places they visit and in which, sometimes, they choose to stay a while. Festivals are after all communities of like-minded people getting together to celebrate life. And the scene in India is slowly but surely drawing in these people from the world over and creating a sustainable environment for a new and exciting cultural scenario.  

About the Author

The author Ayesha Dominica is a fiercely independent writer, published since age 13. When she's not intimidating strangers with her love for polysyllabic words, she works as an artist manager for DJ Russel. She is prone to withdrawal symptoms if distanced from her books and is easily distracted by the colour yellow.  ​

 

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