Music Festivals During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic turned the world on its head after infections began rising in early 2020. As people stopped leaving the safety of their houses and crowds dispersed permanently, afraid of contracting Covid, the way the world worked changed. A change which people have not been very enthused by is the disappearance of music festivals and concerts during this pandemic. Music festivals are events packed with fun, great music and good vibes for everyone in attendance. People love attending such events to watch their favorite artists live, discover new Indie artists or even have a good time with their friends. Due to the restrictions in place on large gatherings and crowds, such events are virtually impossible.

One of the biggest and best music festivals in India has also not been spared from this fate. NH7 Weekender, which began in 2010 in Pune, and has since been hosted in multiple cities, is probably the most acclaimed and renowned music festival in India. It’s biggest claim to fame has been bring international music sensations to Indian audiences at a relatively affordable price. Over the years, NH7 Weekender has been host to acts like Steven Wilson, Poets of the Fall, Switchfoot, Kodaline, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Freidman, Karnivool, Tesseract and Megadeth among many others. Along with the fantastic lineups every year, Weekender also has several food stalls from both local vendors and international chains. A lot of stalls also sell merchandise and handcrafted trinkets for those interested. It has become a huge source of income for a lot of local vendors who also use the platform to expand their customer base and generate awareness about their brand and products. The NH7 Weekender continued to evolve into more of a cultural fest from its inception in 2010 till 2019 when the last Weekender was held before the pandemic hit.

In 2020, fans were very disappointed as they learned that NH7 Weekender would not be taking place as scheduled. Though it didn’t come as a shock to anyone considering the circumstances, it was still a pretty big loss. However, OML, the people responsible for the NH7 Weekender decided that weren’t ones to disappoint their fans which was why they announced that the 2020 edition of the NH7 Weekender would be held virtually. This meant that fans could enjoy performances by artists without having to leave their homes and risk contracting Covid. It was a brilliant move by OML, acting as a ray of hope in a very dark time for the world. The 2020 edition of the NH7 Weekender had its lineup filled with talented artists such as Phum Viphurit, Raja Kumari, Taba Chake and Prateek Kuhad alongside international acts such as the Lumineers. People who bought tickets for the event could also conduct virtual watch parties with their friends so that they could enjoy the show together even if they weren’t sharing the same space. Though a lot of people bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t physically be in attendance to watch their favorite artists live, most were happy to be able to enjoy such an event during such unprecedented and uncertain times.

The NH7 Weekender has been the benchmark for most music festivals in India and it’s not difficult to see why. Bringing international acts to the Indian audience and helping independent artists become household names, even when no one is allowed to leave their homes is a monumental achievement. It is clear why fans are clamoring for a time when they can attend the NH7 Weekender again in all its glory.

Author: Parminder Singh

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