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Rock ’n Roll Barse!
NIDHI GUPTA  11th Mar 2012

Holi enthusiasts from Germany camping at Dog Day Holi Guns

an you imagine Lord Krishna and his ménage of gopis at Woodstock? The gang, armed with gulaal and pichkaris, headbanging to live rock 'n roll music or electronica might be an idea that doesn't gel well with tradition, but this is how Delhi's urbane crowd has taken to celebrating Holi, that festival of spring, of blooming love and all the nicest 'naughty' things in the world.

India's independent music scene is exploding with possibilities and this could not have been more evident than on Holi this year, when the city was flooded with parties that boasted of over a dozen artists each in idyllic far-flung farms on the fringes of the city, promising an entire day of decadent fun. We decided to hop to three of the biggest blowouts to see just how free-spirited this day can get.

Dog Day Holi Guns: Deep in the heart of Chhatarpur, these guys set up their shindig, including a wet area — which translated into a pool, rain dance and electronica — and a dry area named 'the waterfall', a stage for live performances by Vinyl Records, Ceasars of the Green, The Doppler Effect, Electronic Lab ft. Rishi, Moonshine, Peter Cat Recording Co., Tritha and Tatva Kundalini.

"The entire concept behind Dog Days is to just laze around like a dog, with a little beer and some music to keep us blissfully slothful. This month, it just made sense to team up our monthly jig with Holi," said organiser Shamsher Hooka. And so people of all age, caste, creed and colour (including neon pink and pastel green) lay about soaking in the sun, guzzling beer, munching on kebabs and cheering for the bands on play. The wet area remained surprisingly sparse, and despite a few glitches (including a dysfunctional bar and some gate crashing), this was as relaxed as a Holi party could get.

Magic Moments Rang Festival: Into its second year now, Rang is all about celebrating Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Initiated by Gaurav Mohan last year under the banner of his company, Eventwala, this festival had two stages and 19 artists, two of them, Talamasca and Neuromotor, from France. The domestic gigs included Crash & Boom, AudioGramme, Kohra and Starlab, among others. They also had fancier partners — Magic Moments, Time Out and VH1.

"Thanks to the Sunburn festival in Goa, EDM is getting more popular in India by the day. Gaurav initiated this as a small party for his friends but as he realised its potential, it just grew bigger," said organiser Jaiveer Hans. Over 1,000 people thronged here, dancing, playing, getting high (on bhaang) and dry (while they could run). However, a few found the music a bit unsatisfactory. Could this have been because one could hear loud Bollywood music next door at a festival featuring Bally Sagoo?

Holi Cow! Festival: With three stages, quirkily titled Flew!, Glue! And Moo!, this bash gave space to Indian Rock, E.D.M. as well as some Hindi music. They had over 40 artists, including Menwhopause, Soulmate, Mob Marley Inc, Half Step Down and Airborne, among others. Holi Cow! saw the largest number of people gathering at the Airport Residency this year.

A significant expat population, in particular, seemed to be enjoying this melee more than their Indian counterparts. But though the party promised to go on till 10pm, the bar was out of stock and the bands ran out of steam by 7pm. That's when two French gentlemen decided to take the party into their own hands. With some well-honed percussion (a la Deer Park's Drum Circles) and some old Holi anthems like Rang Barse, people danced their hearts out for another hour or so.

 
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