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Rock on!

The oldest rock festival of the country is back

Rock is a sub-culture in itself in India. The Airtel Independence Rock Concert, now in its 23rd year, is testimony to this. Started as one-city two-day event, the battle for “Rockdom” is now held in Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Mum bai. Plans are already afoot to take this originally Mumbai festival to Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi next year. The festival has two phases. The first is the Pub Competition, where bands compete in pubs. This is followed by the Victory Lap where the winners will perform at large city venues. Its format has ensured that talent comes to the fore. The festival has been the launching pad for major Indian rock bands like Brahma, Zero, Pentagram, Agni, etc.

Farhad Wadia, Founder Independence Rock and CEO E-18, is right now most excited about taking the festival for the first time to Kolkata and Pune. He says, “Kolkata has a massive rock audience. The Bengalis know their music. And Pune has a huge student population. So, it was a logical progression to take the festival there.”

Having seen the festival grow from the beginning what are some of the obvious changes? Wadia replies, “Previously, bands used to do many covers. Today there is more original music. The bands are hugely dedicated, there’s a lot of talent and devotion out there. I feel the scene is certainly improving.”

Wadia elaborates that he originally received about 300 tapes, 40 of which excited him. “There is a lot of variety in them. The music had been very professionally recorded.”

But considering that last year’s finale saw 7000 people the popularity of rock is clearly undisputed.

Thursday 7th August — Fire Exit, Five 8, Rampazze, Stitch — at Regent Blues, CP — 7:30 pm onwards

Friday 8th August — AVR, Frequency, Artillerie, IIIrd Sovereign — at Rock Café, Noida — 7:30 pm onwards

Sunday 10th August — Finale at Hamsadhwani,

Pragati Maidan

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