Over 2,000 people from over 37 countries will be travelling to Jaisalmer from February 23 to 25, 2018. The event is a distinct 3-day desert camping festival where you can bring your own tents and revel in music, art, cinema, adventure, culture. Ragasthan Music Festival promises to be a unique experience. What makes it different from the rest? We find out in an interview with Keith Menon, one of the organizers of this festival.
This is the third edition of the festival. But let us go back to the beginning. How did you all conceptualize the event? What inspired you to initiate?
I went to a boarding school in Mount Abu, Rajasthan and spent many years visiting school friends in Jaisalmer where I fell in love with the solace of the dunes. The idea to do a music festival came early, while on a two-week camel safari through the desert where I encountered nomadic tribes whose evening performances are meant for them to forget their arduous journeys traversing through the difficult landscape. I realised that there was not a more perfect stage for music. From seeing Jaisalmer evolve from a place with 0 access to fresh water to now a bustling town, I have been passionate about helping boost responsible tourism to this beautiful ‘sandscape’ and encouraging others to experience a desert for a change. At a chance meeting, old friends Supriya Sobti, Anshuman Jaiswal & Sanmeet Singh were sitting on another table at a coffee shop overhearing me talk about the festival to a colleague and almost immediately with almost no questions the bunch joined hands to make the impossible happen and the rest as they say, is history.
The first edition was in 2012, then 2014 and now in 2018. Any reason for the breaks in between and when can we expect the next one?
Being a totally independent and self funded festival, the founders all have other day jobs and come together as and when possible to do the festival. We’re never sure when the next one will be – and that’s what makes it so exciting to its cult followers! But we hope to get the next edition out in 2020.
There are quite a few festivals being held across the country and especially in Rajasthan. What sets Ragasthan apart?
Ragasthan is set literally in the middle of the dessert and is a fully camping festival. It’s insanely stark and glorious landscape of the Thar Desert & sand dunes, clear-starry night skies and the way sound can travel is just some of the things that set it apart. Not to mention, that we look far and wide for artists that are super talented, diverse and hope to bring them to an audience that can explore new and beautiful music. In a sense – there’s very few festivals in India that happen in such amazing landscapes with a complete campsite like international festivals.
Ragasthan Music Festival has 3 music stages – Morio (which means Peacock in the local language) is grand, theatrical and showcases Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, World Music and more. Birakha (‘rain’ in the local language) is the more personal stage, which gives closer access to performers and showcases Indie, Singer-Song Writers, and experimental artists through the afternoon into sunset. Then there’s Ammara (‘shining star’ in the local dialect) – the only way to stay warm at night is to find yourself dancing the night away where Dj’s and live acts from across the electronic music spectrum spin some of the grooviest dance tunes. With over 40 performances – and no overlapping stages you get a chance to catch each act live.
What are your recommendations in terms of activities to make the best of the trip to this festival?
Apart from the music, there is the joy of camping, camel rides, watching vintage movies all night in an open air theatre under a crazy night sky, hot air balloon rides, dune surfing, exploring local cuisine, exploring the art at the festival and participating in some yourself, the Jaisalmer Fort which is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited fort & a UNESCO World Heritage site besides the amazing places in and around Jaisalmer.
What is the cost of the festival ticket? And what’s the minimum cost for a tent?
A daily pass is for Rs 2500. A 3-day pass starts at Rs 4500 for students and Rs 6500 for regular attendees.
Swiss tents come in two categories: Premium and Regular. Latter start at Rs 24000 for 2 for the regular one and can go up to Rs 70000 for 4. for the premium one.
Some travel tips for those planning to visit the Ragasthan Music Festival.
Come prepared for difficult weather! It’s warm in the day and very cold at night. Come prepared with good walking shoes or slippers, sunglasses, warm clothes, an open mind and a chance to meet amazing people from all over the world. If you’re riding or driving to the festival then make sure you got the right location on the map – people do get lost sometimes.
Confirmed list of artists
- Delhi 2 Dublin
- Cowboy & Sailorman
- Vernon Noronha
- Stuck in November
- Shadow & Light
- Fuzz Culture
- Prabh Deep
Location: Sam Dunes, Jaisalmer
Dates: 23-25 February 2018
Book your tickets here