Started with just two artists and ten attendees in 2019, Musicathon – a music festival in Bir, is going to witness its seventh edition on April 15 and April 16, 2022.
It is not unusual, nowadays, to come across independent musicians throughout the country. The more one travels, the more they get to meet the artists who, sometimes, lack a platform to showcase their talent. With ‘Musicathon’, a music festival in the mountains of Bir, Himachal Pradesh, the founder, Gaurav Kushwaha, aims to provide such a podium to the artists while also ensuring a fun time for the travellers.
The seventh edition of the festival is going to be organized on April 15 and April 16, 2022, at The Bagicha in Bir with the efforts of the local community, talented independent musicians, and a bunch of people driven by a mutual passion for music, poetry, and love for travel. As Gaurav Kushwaha says, the event is about performances, interaction, and learning.
With the backdrop of the Dhauladhar range
The origin of the event dates back to 2019, when the travelling enthusiast Gaurav Kushwaha, after working with a travel startup for several years, decided to quit his job to focus on his old longing of opening a cafe in the mountains. Following his dream, he opened a cafe named ‘Musafir’ in Bir.
All this while, Gaurav had seen how music would bind travellers in a unifying bond, and the initiation of the music festival also gave a boost to the talent of independent musicians. Started in 2019, the first edition saw only 2 artists with 10 attendees, but Gaurav gauged the potential of the festival and organized the 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. The cafe, along with the music festival, was affected badly as the country dealt with the nationwide lockdown owing to spur in COVID-19 cases, but as the situation appeared better in 2021, the festival came back with more energy than before. Mr. Kushwaha remembers the podcast that was created in the last edition with an independent artist who mentioned how artists leave behind their “ego” and “stardom” before entering the gate of ‘Musicathon’. He further adds, “It is a blessing to hear such statements about the festival.”
Participation of local communities
As the mountain ranges of Bir house many local communities, Mr. Kushwaha makes sure to help them through the festival by providing them with paid work throughout the event. “From setting up the stage to declutter the event, all work is done by the locals,” he says, adding that he does not even welcome volunteers so that the event is entirely managed by the locals.
In addition, ‘Musicathon’ has been organizing all its editions in an “eco-sensitive way” with no inclusion of plastic and single-use glasses. Moreover, water filters are set up at the event so that people can refill water in their bottles. “Most of the props here are made by locals with bamboo,” Mr. Kushwaha adds.
Does the music festival help Gaurav Kushwaha in running his cafe? He says, “It’s vice-versa. The profits from the cafe are channelised into ‘Musicathon’, and the money from the event goes into the refurbishment of the cafe.”
While people can buy the music pass for two days at Rs 2,500 in this edition, they will also have an option to buy the pass along with the tents for stay; that comes at the cost of Rs 4,500. Those who won’t be able to attend the festival can enjoy watching the mesmerizing musical performances Live and even BTS on Roposo App from the comfort of their homes. Among the artists for this edition, Rahgir, a social media sensation, Buland Himalay, a.k.a. Jatin Sharma, hailing from the Balh Valley of Himachal Pradesh, and Swastik the Band constitute the popular names.
Unlike other music festivals, as Gaurav Kushwaha says, ‘Musicathon’ allows people to interact with the artists before and after their performances. “Many times, one artist helps other, while on stage, as it is more of a learning platform,” he says.
Soon after the event, Mr. Kushwaha is also planning to start exploring the interior parts of India, aiming to bring to light more such independent artists. “Those artists who cannot come to us for whatsoever reasons will be searched by my team in the coming months,” he says. “We want everyone to come and learn something before going back,” he adds.
So, all those travelling around Bir, here’s a chance to enjoy the musical nights amid the beautiful and majestic mountains!
When: Aril 15 and April 16, 2022
Where: The Bagicha, Bir
Time: 4 pm- 10 pm