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Festival Recap: Bacardi NH7 Weekender Pune

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Since the line-up of Bacardi NH7 Weekender was announced earlier this year, fans rejoiced yet again at the chance to catch their favourite artists come down to country and play their music. And guess what? We at Loudest also made sure that we went and experienced everything this year’s NH7 Weekender in Pune had to offer. Besides the tension brewing close to the festival dates regarding OML and the Weekender, the festival itself was carried out perfectly, but more on that later.

Joe Satriani teething his way through his set on the 2nd day! Picture by Jishnu Chakraborty (The Indian Music Diaries)


To be completely frank, I did not expect Weekender Pune to be as good as it was. The last Weekender I attended was way back in 2012 and after attending Supersonic earlier in 2018, I expected similar standards. But Weekender was on par with any other International Festival and at times, even more organised. The whole festival layout was very intelligently set up. The Bacardi Main Stage and House Party Stage worked off of each other perfectly i.e. whilst one band played their set on one stage, the other set up their sound and instruments on the other. That meant that once one band finished their set on one stage, the other band could start immediately. And this was done throughout all three days. Disregarding a 10 minute delay on the Bacardi Vivid Stage on the 2nd day and The Contortionist going off 15 minutes before their mentioned end time, everything was to the dot. TO THE DOT. That’s easier said than done when you have 5 stages with bands playing at the same time. You’ve got to give it up to the crew. This was some sheer OCD perfection.

The Contortionist’s first show in India was an absolute blast! Picture by FLECK Media


Whilst most festivals focus on certain genres and market their festivals to those specific crowds, Weekender has always been championing ‘Music’ from all over the spectrum, and this Weekender was exactly that. Throughout the 3 days, fans had more than enough of options at any given time to watch an artist that would fit their taste of music. You could choose between FKJ or Shubha Mudgal, or Ritviz, or Dualist Inquiry. The options in terms of genre’s were endless – ranging all the way from Folk, Rock, Electronic, Drum n Bass, Indian Classical, Bollywood, Post Rock, Metal etc. At any other festival, this might sound like a weird mixture of all these genres coming together to not really form any type of cohesiveness, but the crew and organisers really arranged a lineup that made everything gel perfectly. This might sound like an easy task but it takes less than half a second for an attendee to start complaining about how the lineup clashes were horrible and that the lineup could have been arranged in a much better way.


Sanjeeta Bhattacharya killing it on the first day of Weekender!
Picture by FLECK Media

Another thing that really caught my eye was the fact that this year’s festival undoubtedly had the biggest number of bands that were either fronted by females or had one more females in the band on a bill. There was a long lasting conversation last year about how incredibly under represented women were at Festivals all around the world and it seems like the Weekender team looked into this aspect very closely. Spearheaded by the likes of Shubha Mudgal, Tanya Nambiar, Mohini Dey, Tarana Marwaha (Komorebi), Pavitra Chari (Shadow & Light) amongst many others, women really showed that they are an integral part of the music we all listen to. This is something that is still not being seen even in International Festivals and it’s commendable that this is being pushed in India through such a huge platform as the Bacardi NH7 Weekender.


Well all of this sounds well and good but there are more than many examples where music along with alcohol and other substances has led to horrific tales of shock. Remember Woodstock 99? Well, Weekender made sure this didn’t happen. The security at the gates was furious and detailed. You had to cross 3-4 checkpoints before you got in and even once you were in, guards and festival organisers kept roaming around to ensure that nothing illegal was happening. Beyond that, video’s of safe conduct regarding personal space and contact kept playing continuously along the various screens at the festival once bands finished. Separate passes were given to people above the age of 25 allowing them to drink and whilst many might argue that it’s not fair (when the legal drinking age in the state is 21), it certainly helps managing a festival with more than 3000-4000 attendees. Medical vans and tents provided care in all forms and were ready to deal with any situation. That being said, not one instance of rowdy behaviour or damage was seen. Everyone came for the music, everyone abided by the rules, and everyone went home happy. I think there is something we can seriously learn from the Pune crowd this year in terms of conducting yourself at festivals and making sure you don’t get in the way of someone else’s weekend. Props to that!

Picture by FLECK Media

I will repeat what I said in the beginning. I was thoroughly surprised by how good this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune was. Given all the controversy with OML, bands backing out and people publicly shaming the festival, it seems that the crew continued on with their work and all the bands and their respective crew members came out to make the show happen. Make sure you keep your eyes and ears open because we will put out much more content on Weekender Pune and discuss every aspect of what went down this year.


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