A Music & Travel Entrepreneur, Gaurav Kushwaha,Founder at Musicathon - Music Festival of the Mountains, is the brainchild behind Musicathon – the music festival of the mountains at Bir, Himachal Pradesh.Incepted in 2019 with just 2 artists and 10 attendees, Gaurav grew the festival with his passion, extensive planning, and innovation to 3000 attendees today witnessing the magic of music created by over 100 artists.
Before becoming synonymous with Musicathon - India’s coolest independent music festival, Gaurav has had an interesting journey. Despite a modest educational start, he paved his way into the fast and furious start-up world and today, is a passionate owner of two successful ventures.
In an Exclusive Conversation with Loudest.in, Gaurav Kushwaha Founder at Musicathon - Music Festival of the Mountains, Travel & Music Entrepreneur talks about,How the India’s coolest independent music festival has grown, Here are some edited excerpts:
How and why did you come up with the idea for Musicathon ?
In 2019, after working for several years with a reputed travel startup I decided to quit my job to focus on my childhood dream of opening my very own small cafe in the mountains. Being a travel enthusiast, mountain lover myself, it was a love at first sight for me with Bir when I first came to this city.
Walking the path towards my dream, I finalised the location Bir to open my cafe named ‘Musafir’ that has now become a popular name amongst the tourists All this while when I stayed and opened the cafe, I always wondered how music has been an unanimous reason that curated everlasting bonds between all sorts of travellers. This led to the initiation of the music festival that should provide a platform to these talented independent musicians who are looking for a like-minded audience for exposure.
Started in 2019, the first edition witnessed only 2 artists with 10 attendees, but I believed in the potential and organized second edition in just the next three months. This time, the number of attendees rose to 120, and in the third edition which was organized again after three months, it hiked even more.
How has this music festival grown over the years? How did you guys get over the Covid-19 setback?
Fortunately, it has been an overwhelming response in our journey till now. We have received love and lots of support for each edition.
However, post the fourth edition in February 2020, it became almost next to impossible to plan the next edition with the onset of Covid-19. However, the situation gradually began to appear better in 2021, thanks to the immense support we received from the previous edition attendees whom we fondly call our Musicathon family, and the local community of Bir who helped Musicathon to return to its original avatar. They curated a crowdfunding process to support this initiative and since then, there has been no looking back for us.
What were the challenges faced up to till now?
One of the biggest challenges in organizing a music festival in a majestic city like Bir is the climate. There is a track record that whenever Musicathon happens then there's a chance of rain. Whether it is Summer, winter, spring, there's always a chance that it may rain. However, Rain God have always been happy with us as every time the rain stops just at the time of scheduled performances, and the show continues smoothly. Sometimes getting a good tech rider required by the artists become a challenge as we have to get it either from Chandigarh or Delhi. Everything is DIY in this festival, and we have to plan everything in a way that the harsh weather doesn't affect the festival.
What can we expect from the 10th edition of Musicathon? Can you talk about the Artist line-up and ticket pricing too?
Musicathon 10.0 promised to have an eclectic mix of varied genre artists for the two-day festival that will surely set the benchmark even higher. The latest edition will be headlined by the acclaimed artistic singer Khalid Ahamed aka front man of the eminent contemporary music band ‘Parvaaz’ and Swastik The Band, a renowned Chandigarh-based Rock Band.The latest edition line-up also consists of singing sensation- Rahgir, Anurag Vashisht, Arjan Singh, Akanksha Grover Live and Buland Himalay aka Jatin Sharma.This time, we have a very special stand-up comedy act also by none other than Mohit Morani to entertain the attendees.
Musicathon did one small pop-up event in Mumbai, for the first time outside of Bir. How was the response and are you planning any similar events in future?
Our Mumbai chapter was the first ever experiential event we did outside of our comfort zone- Bir. The whole team was nervous but was looking forward to this challenge. We organised a close-knitted intimate gathering of one-day with only 4 artists performing for around 40 people. However, the Mumbai people showered us with their love as we were able to sold more than 60 tickets.
With a great success in Mumbai, we are looking forward to expanding and creating the magic of Musicathon in different Indian cities. But nothing has been planned yet, we will see how things unfold in the coming months.
What does the future hold for Musicathon?
For now, after this edition we are focussing on launching our very own YouTube channel that will be another platform to showcase the talented artist from across the country. We will be travelling across smaller parts of India to find hidden talented artists and will help them curating their songs for them from the scratch and launching it. We will be releasing it to make the artist reach to a wider spectrum of audience.
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