In 2010, nearly 4,000 people bought tickets to attend a small, all-night indie music festival held at an “ashram without a guru” on the outskirts of Bangalore. So much so that the organizers of the Fireflies Festival of Music had to limit the print run of tickets.
A performer at Fireflies 2010. Anup Katukaran
The festival’s 2011 edition, which starts this evening and will last 12 hours, has no brand sponsors, a laid-back vibe and a line-up that includes everything from doom metal to Baul. This year’s headliners include Thermal and A Quarter, violinist Mysore Manjunath and Something Relevant.
But how did a festival that started in the early 2000s with an audience of a few hundred turn into a mainstay of the Indian music festival calendar? Festival director Akshath Jitendranath has an evocative answer. “It’s a chance for city folk to escape the sodium trail of city life,” he says. “Come out to this small village, park their cars wherever they want, smuggle in whatever they want to and sit around, listen to great music, and watch the sun rise behind a banyan tree. ”
The 2011 Fireflies Festival of Music starts at 7pm today. For details, log on to www.fireflies.org.in