9 Offbeat Indian Music Festivals You Need to Attend This Year

Bored of going to the same concerts and events everyone else is attending? Here is a list of 10 offbeat and mesmerising music festivals of India that you simply cannot miss. Pack your bags and plan your visit to these festivals now!

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” — Jimi Hendrix

And how about when music gives you a reason to explore new lands, new cultures, and new ways of life? It is the start of a new year — and the perfect time to plan your travel. Music should definitely part of your to-do travel list.

Several music festivals across the country have been attracting lakhs of people every year. But why do what everyone else is doing? We present to you a list of some of the most fascinating, amazing, and off beat music festivals in India that you can attend this year.

1. World Sacred Spirit Festival

offbeat music festivals

Photo: worldsacredspiritfestival.org

Two beautiful and larger-than-life forts: Mehrangarh in Jodhpur and Ahhichatragarh in Nagaur, perfect weather, a shimmering, starry night, and sufi music. Could there be any more perfect setting to spend your vacations? Take a few days off and discover (or rediscover) sufi music in all its glory. Check out this page for more details. 

When: February 22–24 in Nagpur; February 26–28 in Jodhpur
Where: Nagpur and Jodhpur, Rajasthan

2. Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival

offbeat music festivals

Photo: Facebook

This annual music festival is organised  in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh at the Baikunth Resort. The festival invites upcoming artists to perform in support of under-privileged and orphaned children who are critically ill. All funds raised through the festival are directed toward their treatment.  More details here

When: March 25–27, 2016
Where: Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh

3. Poush Mela, Santiniketan

offbeat music festivals

Photo: www.askmeontravel.com

This annual three-day festival celebrates the harvest season through folk music. Held at Santiniketan — the town established by Rabindranath Tagore — in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, this festival is a treat for lovers of folk music. The festival showcases folk music, notably baul music, and includes other activities such as dance and tribal sports. Since this is also a mela, you can stock up on local fabrics and handicrafts. You can learn more about Poush Mela on its Wikipedia page.

When: December 23–25, 2016
Where: Santiniketan, West Bengal

4. Ragasthan, Jaisalmer

offbeat music festivals

Photo: www.ragasthan.com

If music, camping, and the wild beauty of the desert sound like your cup of tea, then this just might be the festival for you. Set among the dunes of Jaisalmer, this annual festival is a cultural treat for visitors. Check out this space to know more about the festival and stay up-to-date with this year’s dates.

5. Madras Music Season

offbeat music festivals

Photo: www.chennaidecemberseason.com

Usually hot and humid, Chennai is pleasantly cool during December, and it makes most of the season by organising a music festival every year. The Madras Music Season includes six weeks of soulful music where several talented artists showcase their love of and skill in Carnatic music. With over 1,500 artists performing during the festival, it has been described as one of the largest cultural events in the world. You can learn more here.

6. Ziro Festival

offbeat music festivals

Photo: Facebook

Organised in beautiful Arunachal Pradesh, this festival is a popular platform for artists from India and abroad. It is held in the impressive World Heritage Site of Arunachal Pradesh — at 5500 feet above sea level, surrounded by misty mountains. Organised every September, this festival is a must-attend event. Check out this space for more details and event dates.

7. Jodhpur RIFF

offbeat music festivals

Photo: jodhpurriff.org

The RIFF, or Rajasthan International Folk Festival, offers you everything you need for a top-quality vacation. Culture, scenic vistas, music, food… this RIFF has it all. Organised at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur every October, this festival brings together renowned folk artists from India and abroad to create magic through music. Check out their website for more details.

8. Soorya Music Festival, Thiruvananthapuram

offbeat music festivals

Photo: journeymart.com

Every year, Kerala celebrates music and dance in a beautiful way through the Soorya Music Festival, held in Thiruvananthapuram. Well-known artists of Hindustani- and Carnatic-style music perform jugalbandis, vocal and instrumental shows, and transport you into the world of music in a way that promises to delight and charm. More details here.

9. Kalidas Festival, Nagpur

offbeat music festivals

Photo: tariquesani.net

As the name suggests, the festival is organised to celebrate the life and work of Sanskrit poet and dramatist Kalidas. This annual festival is held in Nagpur and includes a mix of poetry sessions, musical evenings, and dance performances. It showcases mesmerising performances by experts in the field of music and dance. More details here.

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