Music heals the soul. If you are a music aficionado who swears by the thrill of attending a live concert, December promises to bring you lots of cheer.
There are scores of festivals that will be held across India where bands, musicians and singers from all over the world will perform. So, before you ring in the new year, get set to travel to new places where you can groove to the beats of an eclectic range of music.
These festivals celebrate different genres of music, and offer you a perfect excuse to plan your end-of-the-year getaway. Here is a list of the most exciting music festivals in December you can check out.
Bangalore Open Air
Venue: Ramada by Wyndham
When: December 3
Bangalore Open Air (BAO) will bring the finest international and local metal bands under one roof. Touted as India’s biggest pure rock and metal festival, this is India’s only dedicated Heavy metal open air music festival. It was founded by heavy metal aficionado and manager of Bangalore-based band Kryptos, Salman U. Syed, with the sole purpose of giving metalheads all over India a metal festival they can call their own.
After tirelessly working with the world-renowned Wacken Open Air Festival from Germany, BOA managed to forge a collaboration that has seen some of the most legendary and cutting-edge metal acts grace Indian soil. From thrash titans Kreator and Destruction to legendary heavy metal stalwarts Iced Earth and extreme metal luminaries like Rotting Christ and Vader, Bangalore Open Air pulls out all the stops to book some of metal’s most sought-after acts. Its annual attendance of three thousand people has been growing considerably with every passing year.
Echoes of Earth, Bengaluru
When: December 3-4
A multi-genre concert in the forest, Echoes of Earth is one of India’s greenest music festivals. The combined love for music, nature and Indian heritage lies at the root of its genesis. Nestled amidst greenery in Bengaluru, the festival is rooted in its leave-no-trace policy and a commitment towards sustainability. It will have a stellar line-up featuring more than 40 Indian and international musicians, including Kerala Dust, The Two Eyed Wizard Collective that creates high energy didgeridoo dance music, Sanddunes, Sanoli Chowdhury, Peekay, Nida, Midnight Traffic, and Dutch DJ Eelke Kleijn.
Each of the stages and other infrastructure has been carefully designed and constructed using recycled and upcycled materials. The festival promises to be a feast for the eyes with its art installations and ancient Indian art performances such as Gombeyatta dolls dancing to the beats of Kannada bandmasters, museum tours and themed stages. The festival has previously witnessed the performances of musician Acid Pauli, drummer Sarathy Korwar and more.
After hosting editions in global electronic music hubs such as Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, the globe-trotting eco-conscious electronic music and art festival DGTL (pronounced ‘digital’) made its India debut in January 2020 in Bengaluru, with a stellar lineup of international and countrywide artists across multiple stages at The Lalit Ashok.
This year, it will hold two editions: in New Delhi and in Mumbai. DGTL New Delhi will happen on 9 & 10 December and DGTL Mumbai will take place on 10 & 11 December. The international line-up across both cities include Serbian artist Tijana T, Iranian-American techno and house stalwart Dubfire, Dutch DJ-producers such as Ki/Ki and Lee-Ann Roberts and Copenhagen-based Denis Horvat.
Indian artists will include BLOT!, Vridian, Sublime Sound and others in New Delhi, and Anyasa aka Anish Sood, Sequ3l, Deep Brown, Sindhi Curry and more in Mumbai. The complete lineup for DGTL Mumbai and DGTL New Delhi now includes headliners such as Solomun, Maribou State, SPFDJ, Giolì & Assia, Toto Chiavetta and more.
Dunes Music Festival
Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
When: December 24-25
Dunes Music Festival is one of the country’s fastest growing open-air Electronic Music Festivals. The vision behind the festival is to spread ‘love, peace and brotherhood” through the universal language of music. Their primary aim is to provide a space where people from across the world can come together and connect with each other to share their culture and experiences as well as forming a global community filled with harmony.
Dunes is also coming up with its NYE edition in Jaipur this year. It’s going to be a one-day open air music concert at Poison Club Rooftop Area, where DJS/artists from across the globe will perform.
EDM Festival Sunburn
When: December 28-30
Started in 2007 as a three-day music festival in Goa, Sunburn is an electronic dance music festival which boasts of an eclectic mix of music, dance and other experiences. The theme of the 16th edition of Sunburn will be ‘The Future Is Now’ and the lineup reflects just that: Grammy award-winning artist Afrojack and DJs Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike will be headlining the event. This will be followed by Belgian DJ Lost Frequencies and music producer Otnika.
The high-octane entertainment, dished out by a total of 120 odd international and homegrown acts across seven stages, by the beach in Vagator, Goa, is what the musically inclined die for. Others on the bill include MORTEN, Otnika, and Lost Frequencies are just a few of the musicians.
Sunburn has travelled far and wide across the length and breadth of India and featured top artists such as Martin Garrix, Afrojack, The Chainsmokers and Avicci. The festival’s yearly flea market, a specially curated food and beverage village, sunset point, and adventure activities like bungee jumping and zip-lining will all be back this year.
Where: Kohima (Nagaland)
When: December 1-10
One of the biggest music festivals in India and world, The annual Hornbill festival is a cultural extravaganza that takes place amid the scenic vistas of Kohima. The best Naga cuisine, music, dance, games, arts, and crafts are on display at the festival, which takes place at the Kisama Heritage Village, 10 kilometres from Kohima. Visitors also get the chance to delve deep into the rich history and culture of the 16 tribes that call the area their home.
The main attraction of the festival, named after the Indian hornbill — a large and colourful forest bird depicted in the folklore of several Naga tribes — is the Hornbill International Music Festival and Rock Contest, which was organised at Dimapur in 2017. Several well-known bands from the country, like Soulmate, Slain and Gingerfeet have headlined the festival over the years.
Magnetic Fields Festival
Where: Jhunjhunu, Alsisar (Rajasthan)
When: December 9-11
The eighth edition of Magnetic Fields Festival will showcase an array of celebrations championing art and music. After a hiatus of two years due to the COVID pandemic, the three-day festival will be hosted at the Alsisar Mahal in Rajasthan. The festival is popular among music fans because it curates and introduces new music to attendees.
Magnetic Fields provides a great forum to artists looking to transcend their music beyond boundaries. The genre traverses a wide range: everything from jazz and folk music to classic rock and roll. Over the last few years, major acts such as Four Tet, Khruangbin, BICEP, and DJ Lag have all performed on its exponential stage. Every year, the festival focuses on a single theme, and the theme for 2022 is ‘Reconnection.’