Going to Ziro, NH7 Shillong or Horbill seems like the greatest weekend of your life… in theory. Until you realize it means days without a shower, sodden venues and hundreds of other people who also haven’t bathed.
But it’s all worth it for the experience of watching the coolest indie bands – Donn Bhat/Parekh & Singh/Skrat – from a few feet away. This year, go beyond the usual suspects with Orange (a week post Hornbill in December) in Dambuk, Arunachal Pradesh, a mashup of great gigs and adventure sports like off-roading and white-water rafting.
There’s also the Brahmaputra Beach Festival in January; as well as Lou Majaw’s Bob Dylan Festival in Shillong, an annual two-day bash to celebrate the Nobel laureate’s birthday (May 24 for you Dylan virgins) that’s been going strong since 1972. Those in the know will be at Imphal’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone? – a three-day festival in May dedicated to the late folk music pioneer (and Dylan’s mentor) Pete Seeger – secretly active in the village of Andro, 26km from the Manipur capital. Using music as a tool for social change, it’s a scaled-down version of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and Serj Tankian’s Axis of Justice concerts. But in the wilderness.