Recently I was talking to a friend about the logistics and efforts of organising a music festival, our conclusion – if it was easy to organise a quality festival, everyone would be organising one.
As someone who had not been to a music festival in over 18 months, this was exciting. As someone who had never been to a techno festival ever, this made me curious. Not being a fan of Holi but hearing so much about Locals, I decided that this time I would go with a couple of friends and enjoy this new festival that began on the colourful note. It was my opportunity to witness Locals DISTRICT.
Locals is an underground electronic music pop up started by Vijay Kumar aka Mister. K, last year in March. The project has featured many upcoming and established artists performing their craft to passionate fans and lovers of the music and culture. While making this happen, Vijay has ensured that the show has always been safe and secure for everyone, men and women alike.
DISTRICT was a step above an underground pop up, it was a full fledged 3 day music festival that took place in a Castle Kalwar, a little outside the city of Jaipur. The festival also marked the one year celebration of Locals. The festival did not just revolve around great music, it also integrated a great blend of sound and enticing visuals in the already picturesque castle. The projection duties were taken over by Harish Kumar and Wayne Joshua Raspin. Harish, with his experiences with festivals like Supersonic and The Weekender is now a master at his game. This comes with a decade full of experience and constant creation. The team flew in super computers that were setup at site to create graphics and animation on the go.
Apart from all this my favorite thing about the festival was the fact that the line up had about 40 artists, of which almost all were local Indian talent. This has been the essence that Vijay planned to promote from the time he started Locals back in January 2017. He wanted DISTRICT to be no different in its essence.
We had to stay true to our roots which was promoting local talent. – Vijay Kumar
The festival saw 4 stages. Of couse, it was impossible for me to attend the entire festival, but what I experienced is a thorough joy to remember. The first stage included the day performances that were by the pool. In the scorching heat that Rajasthan saw during the day, this was a the soothing wave. I was lucky to listen to some artists like Yudi, Oryza and Doctor Daniel who played his last set with the moniker on the second day.
The festival would then move up the hill to the main stage. The sound here was probably one of the best all of us had ever come across in a long while. With the led screens and gripping visuals, this was exactly the kind of experience everyone was hoping for. Mr. Red opened up the stage on the first night with the backdrop of a hill and the sun setting to his right, banging his set on stage till Leon Russel took over from him and Audio Units man Ashwin Baburao took it further. The show then progressed to the centre of the area where on the second day, Qilla Records roster, Jitter, Kohra and SHFT took music duties along with local producer Reverse Osmosis and many other artists. Both nights would end with an underground gig happening in the basement going on till sun rise.
The other beautiful aspect of the festival was the full moon that would rise at sundown everyday and that right above the After Party stage. The visual projections for the entire evening would grasp everyone’s attention and add to the experience. The final stage was the morning stage which was organised on the roof of the castle on the last day where pioneer BLOT took closing duties and made the crowd sway for the last time before DISTRICT came to a close.
Locals DISTRICT wasn’t just a music festival, it was almost a family gathering with everyone enjoying things they loved equally. It was a community coming in from different parts of the country catching up, dancing together, enjoying the music and also a place to find new friends and collaborations.
Organising the festival could have in no way been easy for Vijay and his team of 6. While the turnout was a small number for the festival of it’s kind, it was authentic and organic. Next year, I hope it grows bigger and even better with them having more time to market and promote the festival before hand.
It doesn’t end here. Locals is all set for it’s post DISTRICT post party tonight (16th March) at The Junction in Delhi with Calm Chor, Tasneem, Vir RC from VridianMusic and ANĀM. They will also have Mosquito Masala taking visual projection duties and Gaurav Malvai from Outline Sound System making sure they remind us of the top quality sound we got at DISTRICT itself.
Vijay and team also promise infinite hugs through the gig. Make sure you make it!