Come Friday, and all roads in Meghalaya will lead to Madan Kurkalang in Bhoirymbong, Ri-Bhoi district for the seventh edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender, one of the biggest music festivals in India.
The two-day festival, which will entertain the region’s music enthusiasts on October 21 and 22, will see many maiden performances by international and national artistes.
The international artistes expected are Steven Wilson, Natty, Rhythm Shaw, River, Mali, The Ritornellos and Vertical Horizon.
While the Indian part will include Farhan Live, Kumail, What Escapes Me, Elephant In The Elevator and Wild Palms.
They will perform over the weekend at the Shillong edition, and are expected to make it a night to remember for all music aficionados.
Other popular local artistes who will be performing at the festival this year will be Papon and Lucid Recess from Guwahati; Soulmate: History of the Blues, Aberrant, Blue Temptation and Dossers Urge from Shillong; Alobo Naga & Band from Dimapur and Imphal Talkies from Imphal.
The Shillong leg of the festival will host five stages – Bacardi Arena, The Dewarists, The Breezer Vivid Village, Bacardi House Party and Insider.
“Following the overwhelming response we got last year, we decided to start the festival from Shillong again this year. So here we come again,” Only Much Louder’s COO Vijay Nair said.
“It was one of the best Bacardi NH7 Weekender editions we have ever had. The support we received during the weekend from everyone – the local and state authorities, our fantastic local production and security crews,” Nair said.
He also praised their brand partners, and the fans – “who were amazing”.
The NH7 weekender will have imaginative stage designs, exquisite art installations, eclectic food options and a specially curated bazaar for artists, craftspeople, DIYers and hobbyist entrepreneurs to showcase their creativity.
“I am super excited about playing at Shillong. Me being from the region and add to it the beautiful setting – surrounded by hills that no city location can beat – makes the Shillong edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender provide for a great exposure along with quality music and fun,” singing sensation Agaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta said.
Papon also termed the Shillong leg of the festival as one of the best musical extravaganza unfolding in the Northeast. “The Shillong edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender is definitely one of the best festivals I have played at, in terms of the vibe,” he said.
Papon added that the region deserved such an initiative and the team behind OML has been instrumental in giving the region one of its biggest musical extravaganzas.
“The people of the Northeast deserved something like this, something of this magnitude. It’s a remote region, so hats off to OML for taking the music to Shillong. It’s great exposure for the region, and for the young people who are so talented with such great music traditions,” the Assamese singer said.
Excited about his debut at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Shillong, noted singer Alobo Naga said, “We are happy and excited to be a part of the festival this year. Such music festivals are not only a treat for music lovers in the region as they get a chance to hear popular national and international bands and performers but also open doors for people from other parts of the country to travel and explore the region… a win-win situation.”
Elaborate arrangements are being made by outdoor accommodation providers who are looking to house music lovers during the festival in tents and camps. Camp site Kite Manja, situated within 1.5 km of the venue, is planning to accommodate over 150 people. An additional 50 people will be provided with facilities if they bring their own tents. “On the first day of our tie-up with Make My Trip, we got 15 tent bookings. Seeing such a response, we have increased our capacity to 150 from our initial plan of 100 tents,” Founder and Programme Director at Kite Manja, Jnandip Borgohain said.
Jnandip said the festival has been a boon for the local economy as the flow of music lovers to the city will add to many more allied activities.
“Festivals like Bacardi NH7 Weekender provide lots of opportunities to local people in terms of employment. At our campsite, a lot of local population is working. A lot of visitors will come to Shillong in the next many days and this indeed is a big boost to the local economy,” he said.