Stairway to Heaven Fell Short

Rohan Swamy,Rohan Swamy

Posted: Nov 20, 2011 at 0422 hrs IST

When the much-awaited NH7 Weekender finally took off on Friday, the mood seemed to be dark. And by that we are not referring to the low turnout. The crowd of music lovers gave this impression with most of them choosing to wear black for the night out. And the smoke-filled ambience only strengthened this feeling. However, once the musical performances unfolded on Magarpatta City’s Laxmi Lawns in Pune, the tag of the “happiest music festival in India” seemed apt for this mega event which will host nearly 50 performances this weekend.

Low turnout

With most of the big performances slotted for Saturday and Sunday at the Dewarists Stage, the Black Rock Arena and the Other Stage, the turnout on Day One was unimpressive. Most of the visitors chose to stay at the Eristoff Wolves Den. Even the Pepsi Dub Station that hosted performances by Reggae Rajahs, Microphon3 and Ox7gen remained largely empty, save for the ones who came in to groove to the music.

The Cartel Chronicles

The four-member group of Delhi’s Jalebee Cartel set the dice rolling after a slow beginning by Mumbai’s electro-rock band Sky Rabbit and Delhi’s Dualist Inquiry. As Cartel’s vocalist and percussionist Ash Roy puts it, “Performing in Pune is always wonderful. People here just let their hair down and have fun. Today was no different.” The crowd went gaga over their well-known track, Apartment 88. The excitement lasted only for a while. During the rest of the performance, people flitted in and out.

Flea Away

Showcasing an interesting array of items ranging from bags to organic cosmetics, the ‘flea market’ was bustling. The brands have catchy names too — No Nasties, Sheep Stop and Jhola Co being some of them. A Naved, one of the volunteers at the kiosk of NGO Wake Up Pune, said, “It is a good platform to spread awareness. We are not only selling T-shirts that read HIV positive but also giving away free condoms to people.”

Weekend Bazaar

When not grooving to the psychedelic tracks at the Dub Stage or the Eristoff Wolves Den, a crowd was spotted at the Weekender Bazaar that housed kiosks like the Bela Vega, Eatmosphere and Gostana. The stands offer food items ranging from vegan, Mexican, and Lebanese fare to regular burgers.

Midival Mania

Perhaps the only time during the evening when the Eristoff stage was packed to its capacity was when Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj of the Midival Punditz were in action. This hour-long act that also featured Toronto-based Humble the Poet aka Kanwer Singh and singer Monica Dogra, had the crowd asking for more. “It was fun doing a duet with Monica.With the Punditz performing in sync, it was wonderful. Even the turnout was fantastic,” said Humble the Poet.

All that Jaxx

The most anticipated act of the day had some disappointment in store. The UK-based Basement Jaxx duo, comprising Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe, became a single act, as only Buxton took to the stage. While his performance began strongly with a varied collection of electronica and trance music, a sizable chunk of the crowd slowly began walking out to the neighbouring Bacardi Together Stage where the Red Bull bar was located.

Source : ExpressIndia

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