The biggest news in the Indian music world right now is Lollapalooza announcing their Indian debut. Understandably, artists and talent managers in the country’s indie music scene have their own expectations and concerns with this surprise announcement.
What is Lollapalooza: Lollapalooza is an annual four-day music festival that takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park. Welcoming over 4,00,000 people each year, the festival not only showcases some of the hottest musical acts, but also visual artists and non-profit collectives.
What do we know so far: The festival has had international editions in 7 other countries and now it’s all set to take place in Mumbai on January 28-29, 2023. Even though the list of artists has yet to be revealed and will take place later this year, the founder and BookMyShow CEO Ashish Hemrajani promises “a mix of stellar Indian talent and global entertainers” based on his quotes to PTI.
Venues are yet to be disclosed but Lollapalooza has promised it will be able to accommodate up to 60,000 people for each of the two days.
Given its large scale and global reputation, hopes are high for both performers and audiences.
Only limited to Mumbai (so far): “The arrival of Lollapalooza in India definitely marks the beginning of a new era and I hope the country will soon start to find its place as a touring country for major artists. Personally, I am excited to see some of the big international bands, but also cool Indian artists. Kevin Shaji tells DailyO. He is a Kerala-based music producer who goes by the stage name Pina Colada Blues.
But when it comes to the metropolitan venue of the festival, Shaji hopes that such an international festival will also have its localized editions.
“I really hope they will have small urban events before the main event to create more hype and traction for the main event,” he adds.
Would only mainstream artists be featured? Lollapalooza, in the end, would like to stage some bankable artists from the so-called “indie” scene. A huge misconception among Indian audiences is to label any musician as indie or underground as long as they make non-cinematic music. But with mainstream and established artists like acoustic idol Prateek Kuhad, and DJ and vocalist Ritviz represented by major record labels and A-list executives, are they truly independent?
Some artists worry that a festival like Lollapalooza will end up featuring such high-profile names, leaving little or no room for emerging talent.
“I don’t think a festival of this level, coming to India for the first time, can showcase underground talent too well,” said Vibhu Singh, a Delhi-based producer behind music project Kalbaisakhi. . DailyO. In addition to producing original tracks, Singh also performs at concerts in the city’s major nightlife venues.
Saqlen Khan, the manager behind up-and-coming artists like pan-Indian music collective J-Block and comedian/rapper Wolf Cryman, has similar concerns over the festival’s sense that it wouldn’t do much for those who don’t. are not yet so traditional, especially those who do not come from metropolitan cities.
As he simply puts it, it feels like “another opportunity for the elites of the scene to upstage the others”.
Hopes for international representation: Regardless of who exactly this affects, singer-producer and Mumbai native Sanjana Devarajan feels there is a takeaway for the entire artist community with this announcement. “I think it just helps all Indian artists. More representation, more reach.
Even Singh still harbors some optimism with overseas bands like Boiler Room and Lollapalooza seeing India as a potential market. “It’s good for the scene, both underground and commercial, but for now I think it will be more for the commercial side.”
First Lollapalooza in Asia: While there’s a lot of anticipation for the lineup, it might seem unfair to expect a lot from just one first edition. But there are some factors to keep in mind that offer some hope for Indian event managers.
Apoorv R, a Mumbai-based talent manager behind artists like Meghna Mishra and Mohammed Irfan, details these factors. “Despite the fact that there are several parts of Asia that have huge audiences and young festival-crazed crowds, choosing Mumbai for their 1st Asian edition is a calculated decision on Lolla’s part. It would definitely add more power to local talent.
“Indian cities are now included in the touring locations of top global talents like Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Russ. And even in the case of Indian festivals so far, whether it’s Ziro, Magnetic, Echoes of Earth, Mahindra Blues, each festival has its own essence, which is important for retaining crowds every year,” he continues.
The future of local independent artists: Coming back to local artists in non-metropolitan cities, what can they hope for in the end?
Most of the indie community believes that the rational first step for these artists is to build up a local fan base before shooting straight for the moon with a global phenomenon like Lollapalooza.
“As a new emerging artist/indie artist, you tend to start with a smaller fanbase that you build up over time. And so getting local gigs is easier to do. Personally, I would start with local events because they’re more intimate and it’s a great way to grow your local fans and test your music in regional waters (especially if it’s in a regional language),” says Pina Colada Blues who are constantly experimenting with the singing from multiple languages like Malayalam, Hindi and English.
Devarajan, on the other hand, has a more positive approach. “I would say be ambitious. I think no artist should feel limited. Dream big. Concentrate on your job and seize all the opportunities!