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“I wanted to recreate the feel of the Great Indian Rock festival. However, all the bands aren’t playing rock music. There’s a variety of genres and languages with no overlap," says Geoffrey G. Thomas, organizer of The Music Festival and founder of Amaranta Entertainment, a company that promotes young and original talent in music and sport. The festival, which was first held in February, is bigger this time around, with a line-up of 10 bands. The performances will be held over two weekends in Chennai—9-10 August and 16-17 August.

The festival will kick off with The F16s, an alternative/electro-rock band from Chennai, and Live Banned, a funk band from Bangalore whose members have built a reputation for comic timing. Agam, a Bangalore-based “Carnatic progressive rock" band, Chennai’s rock ‘n’ rollers Skrat, and Lagori, a folk rock fusion band from Bangalore, are on the programme for Day 2.

Metalheads in the city can flock to the Museum Theatre on 16 August to watch The Down Troddence, a “thrash/groove/folk metal" Bangalore-based band whose members come from Kannur in Kerala. Demonic Resurrection, a Mumbai-based band whose music is a combination of several genres of heavy metal, will perform the same evening. Demonic Resurrection has just launched its fourth album and recently completed a tour of Europe.

Alternative Malayalam rock band Avial, which will play in Chennai after three years, will close the festival on 17 August, along with Bangalore-based Parvaaz, a blues/psychedelic rock band known for its Kashmiri and Urdu lyrics, and singer-songwriter Soundarya Jayachandran.

“The bands were chosen based on their popularity and because they only produce original music," says Thomas. While it’s easier to find an audience for a show where covers are played, as with tributes to classical artistes, Thomas is of the belief that high-quality music will draw its own audience.

“(Live) Music is habit-forming. We need music that is of a high calibre to keep a listener tuned in these changing times. Today, people don’t mind paying for quality. If there is a quality product out there, the market—the audience—will find it," he adds.

In order to engage the audience with the performance, the organizers have announced a contest for fans. Those who post the most number of pictures or videos from any of the shows on a social networking site with the hashtag #TheMusicFestival and #Day1 or #Day2 or #Day3 or #Day4 could win vouchers of 2,000 each.

“These are small things that we do to keep people going. If the festival turns out to be a success, I’d love to organize something similar in Kochi and Bangalore," says Thomas.

The Music Festival will be held 9-10 August and 16-17 August, 5pm onwards, at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, Chennai (28193238). Tickets, 350 a day, available on in.bookmyshow.com.

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