With 60,000 fans, over 50 artists and 5 stages, the 7th edition of the Bacardi Nh7 Weekend Pune saw a stupendous show over the 3 days!

From Steven Wilson’s ‘Bringing Misery to the Happiest Music festival’ to the dazzling return of the ambient Prog-Metallers, Skyharbor, Bacardi Nh7 Weekender fulfilled the hearts of all the fans who turned up at the festival’s new home, Life Republic in Pune.

From an army of fans singing along to Porcupine Tree’s Lazarus and Reggae Rajah’s along with MoCity and DJ Uri making few thousands bounce to their fiery Hip-Hop beats to some uneventful power cuts, Pune’s edition of the Happiest music festival saw it all.

Day 1:
After a series of the Weekender Express and an overwhelming Shillong edition and a notable Hyderabad debut, the finale of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender welcomed their fans to a new home with a day filled with much electronic and very little of a mixed genre experience.
With a treat set-up for the Electronic Music fans, Hinjewadi’s Life Republic saw the fans of the Happiest Music Festival walk in nice and early to live through the sets right from Gumbal to the Koocha Monster, Nucleya.

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With Siddhart Talwar’s energetic Guitar solos, Arjun Iyer’s soulful vocals with a touch of his rhythm guitar riffs, Varoon Aiyer’s ounchy drum beats and Satish Sridhar’s thick bass guitar sounds, Mumbai-based Alt-Rock act, Gumbal, kicked off the proceedings at Pune’s 7th edition of the Happiest Music Festival. With a few hundred people already grooving along to the tunes at Bacardi House Party stage, the fresh faces of the independent music scene, Gumbal, made way for for the legendary Randolph Correia a.k.a FUNC to take stage at the Bacardi Arena.

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The veteran Guitarist officially started off the Bacardi Arena with his electro-rock Guitar riffs and experimental drum and bass samples, setting up the mood with his Bass-heavy beats for fans. The Electronic music showcase continued at the Breezer Vivid Village with Delhi-based down-tempo duo, Komorebi, who brought a mix of Electronica, Rock and some Jazz to the party.

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The Flawless alternate electronica show at the Breezer Vivid Village left a few fans disappointed with the delay in Ambient Electronic act Nicholson’s after an uneventful power outage before RAC brought their DJ set to Vivid Village.  The Portugal-based Grammy nominated indie-electronica producer brought the Day 1 at the Breezer Vivid Village to a wrap with the massive indie-electronica remixes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and their hits from the album, ‘Strangers’.

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While Electronic music represents had their stories to tell on Day 1, folk singer-songwriter, Zoya, Kolkata’s very own Rap-Rock outfit, Underground Authority and Mumbai’s finest Blues act, Kanchan Daniels and the Beards, made sure there was something for everyone. Zoya Mohan, who is fresh of her Album ‘natural disaster’, took over the Bacardi House Party stage with her band. The Bacardi Arena saw Kolkata’s Rap-Rockers, Underground Authority, bring their Rock influenced Hip-Hop party to Pune. Underground Authority brought hip-hop back to life in Pune’s Hinjewadi with their popular numbers like Microphone and few released records surrounding the socio-political situation before making way for one the finest blues act, Kanchan Daniel and The Beards.

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The 5 piece rhythm and blues act delivered their high-power set with vocalist, Kanchan Daniel’s display of her vocal versatility, before electronic music heavy weights Dualist Inquiry, Sapta and the Koocha Monster, Nucleya took center stage.

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With over a few thousand fans awaiting for New Delhi’s Daulist Inquiry to take over the Bacardi Arena, Sahej Bakshi, joined by Tapass Naresh (Skrat/Sapta) on Drums, Kavya Tehran (Mosko) on Vocals, Sidd Vashi on Saxophone and The F16’s on Vocals and Guitars, recreated his album live at the Happiest Music Festival. Stepped out of his solo performance, Dualist Inquiry and the band put a mesmerizing show.

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Chennai electronic music duo, Sapta, brought the Bacardi House Party stage to a close with their live synth and drum influenced music. Marti Bharath along with Tapass Naresh took charge of the bass-heads with their heavy drum beats and live synthesizers. The Chennai based duo set the mood of a thousand fans for the man of the hour, Nucleya, to bring Day 1 to a conclusion.

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The 7th edition of the Bacardi Nh7 Weekender concluded on a high with Nucleya bringing his special set to their new home. With Vijay Nair coming on stage to introduce one of the greatest Independent act of the country and Varun Thakur’s Vicky Malhotra stepping into the Bacardi Arena to bring in some laughter before the showstopper started off his set with his hit single, ‘Bhayanak Aatma’. Udyan Sagar a.k.a Nucleya’s breakthrough act at the Bacardi Nh7 Weekender’s new home, saw the bass monster sampling Vicky Malhotra’s trademark, ‘Myself Vicky Malhotra’, bringing on the Reggae Rajah’s, Kavya Trehan and the rapper from the streets on Mumbai, Divine on the stage. With the astonishing fireworks, confetti, Nucleya’s very own Background dancers and his own dedicated loyal fan base who pride themselves as ‘Team Nucleya’, the World’s Happiest Musci festival surely started on a right note 🙂

Day 2:

‘Steven Wilson! Steven Wilson! Steven Wilson’

Our earliest memory of day 2 was certainly experiencing goosebumps to an army of fans chanting one name, before the man could cast a spell of ‘Misery’ with his music at the Happiest Music Festival.

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While over a few thousand fans in their Steven Wilson T-shirts made their way in to festival to experience the Porcupine Tree front-man’s magical set, the Day 2 at the Happiest Music Festival was more then just about the finest Prog-Rock musician of the past two decades. After India’s finest Electronic acts along with RAC entranced the 21st edition of Bacardi Nh7 Weekender, Day 2 was all about the heavy Guitar riffs, energetic drums and soulful vocals and Nh7 Weekneder’s head programmer, Anuj Gupta’s debut DJ set.
Shillong’s Alt-Rock trio, Dossers Urge, started off the weekend at the Bacardi House Party Stage before African Rapper Aewon Wolf and Gigi Lamayne took over the Bacardi Arena with their blazing Hip-Hop music. While most of the fans processed to pick up their front row spots at the ‘Bacardi Arena’ , ‘The Dewarist stage’ and the ‘Insider.In Other stage’ welcome the prejudice-free fans to an Italian themed Orchestra set by Sempre Libera, UK-based bassist/singer-songwriter Shri, Canada’s Patrick Watson, Folk music trio River, Rhythm Shaw’s leading-edge guitar skills along with Mohini Dey’s radical expertise on the bass guitar.
While stand-up comics Abish Mathew and Kenny Sebastian concluded the ‘Insider.In Other stage’ with catchy lyrics and their acoustic guitar tunes, Renowned folk singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez’s euphonious set and Papon’s heartfelt 50 minute set closed ‘The Dewarist stage’.

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After hosting India’s leading Electronica acts along with Portugal’s RAC and a minor power failure on Day 1, The Breezer Vivid Village hosted some of the finest live-electronica artists on Day 2. Mumbai’s 2 piece electronic act, Paraphoniks with their analog synthesizer and guitar and Delhi’s Avant-garde act, Mosko, got the Bacardi Vivid Village under way with their trailblazing set before Reggae Rajah’s along with their Europe represent, DJ MoCity and Hip-Hop veteran DJ, DJ Uri took charge! The 4 piece Reggea/Hip-Hop group dropped their most flared up DJ set to a Breezer Vivid Village’s Secret set full to capacity.

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Akshay Rajpurohit’s solo techno project, Aqua Dominatrix, followed up the best electronic set of the festival with his dark-pop/techno music from his latest album, Overthrowing Magnus. The Mumbai-based multi-instrumentalist brought the Breezer Vivid Village to a close with his dazzling drum beats and hypnotic synth sounds.

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After the enthralling sets by Dossers Urge at the Bacardi Arean, Aewon Wolf and Gigi Lamayne at the Bacardi Arena, the progressive post-hardcore prodigy, Goddess Gagged, marked The Return with the crowd’s favorites from their last album, ‘Resurface’, at the Bacardi House Party Stage.

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While the 2nd day marked The Return of the 5 piece behemoth prog-rockers, The F16’s stole the show with convoluted road to fame. Chennai’s 5 piece Dance Punk band, after giving their fans the joy of Moon Child and Nuke, took their energetic set up by a notch after their ‘smashing the guitar’ trick.
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The Happiest Music Festival saw the weekender warriors and post-rock pioneers, Aswekeepsearching, take over the Bacardi House Party stage one last time this year after their stellar performances at the Shillong and Hyderabad edition. The 4 piece post-rock outfit gave the fans at Pune a perfect sun-downer set with songs from their debut album, Khwaab, and their new single, Lights & Colors, setting the mood for the celestial prog-metallers, Skyharbor.

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The Indo-American prog-metal band made their return at Bacardi Arena after an extended 2 years with Drummer Aditya Ashok and Vocalist, Eric Emery, making their debut in India with the band. With Pune’s metal lovers turning up flashing their fancy Skyharbor T-shirts, the mutli-national metallers marked their return to The Happiest Music festival with sensational performance right from the moment Keshav and Davesh’s picked up the riffs of ‘Evolution’ on their guitars to playing their latest single, Chemical Hands, after missing out on their soundcheck due to unforeseeable reasons.

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After what seemed to be impossible to follow up on Skyharbor’s set the Welsh trio, The Joy Formidable, had the fans headbanging with their effervescent performance. While majority of the fans waited for the mighty Steven Wilson to take over the Bacardi Arena, The alt-rock trio marked their India debut with songs from their third and latest album ‘The Hitch’ and their Welsh song, ‘Y Garreg Ateb.’

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With the clock striking 20:20, The Happiest Music festival witnessed over 20,000 fans chant Steven Wilson’s name, before the multi-instrumentalist record producer could bring captivating day to an end. Steven Wilson lit up the arena when the crowd in their entity sang along to the progressive rock maestro’s classic, ‘Lazarus’.

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The animated Porcupine Tree front-man and his band delivered a colossal performance and witty statements about bringing misery to the Happiest Music Festival and asking the Pune crowd to keep mum with a comical, ‘Listen, the teacher is speaking, so keep quiet.’ before bringing the day 2 of the Bacardi Nh7 Weekender, Pune to an end with ‘The Sound Of Muzak’ and ‘The Raven That Refused to Sing.’

Day 3:
While we approached the final day having felt that the second day left us spoilt for choice, Day 3 had discovering new music, missing our favorite acts and running between 5 stages.

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The Pune edition of the Bacardi Nh7 Weekender saw a mix of a star-studded names with a mix of promising talents take stage for the intriguing final day. The budding talents in Mumbai-based singer-songwriter, Mali, Tripura’s starling rapper, Borkung Hrangkhawl, Kolkata’s dream-pop duo, Parekh and Singh and Urband-Desi hip-hop act Prabh joined music veterans Shankar Mahadevan, Grammy Awardee Anoushka Shankar, Global-Fusion superstar Karsh Kale and internationally renowned Hip-hop beat-maker, DJ Premier.

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The happiest festival started the countdown to final hours of their 7th edition at Pune with Indie Pop/Folk act, Easy Wanderling bringing their ambient soul music at the Insider. In Other Stage and Mumbai’s singer-songwriter, Mali, debuting her band set up with the much admired Tejas Menon at the Bacardi House Party stage.

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Manipur’s pioneer Folk-Rock outfit, Imphal Talkies, started off The Dewarist stage with their songs about socio-polictical issues and the minority communities of India, followed by British synth-pop sensation, Rosie Lowe. Soon after Parekh & Singh, dressed in their mustard suits, put up a heavenly set at the Insider.In Other stage with their popular numbers, ‘Newbury Street’ and ‘Philosophize’, Rosie Lowe managed to gather an impressively huge crowd singing along to ‘Right Thing’, ‘Worry Bout Us’ and ‘Woman’ from her debut album ‘Control’.

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The Insider.In Other stage saw 22 year old, Gordi, bring sounds from rural Australia with her latest EP, Clever Disguise, to the Happiest Music Festival before A.R Rahman founded A Capella group, NAFS, brought the Insider.In Other stage to life for the one last time on the final day with throbbing vocal rhythm and live bass.

“Karsh Kale mixes eclectic beats with the sounds of his heritage to make a sound that is distinctly his own”.
– President Obama.

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After his performance at The White House and having shared the stage with the crowned heads of the Music Industry, Global-fusion maestro, Karsh Kale took over The Dewarist stage with his collective composing of Apeksha Dandekar and Benny Dayal on vocals, Jai Row Kovi on drums and Mendonsa on Guitars. The Karsh Kale collective saw the fan turn up in an enormous fashion and a the collective live up their expectation with a flawless show.

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The seamless showcase of Fusion and World Music saw the much awaited name and Steven Wilson’s counter part, Anoushka Shankar, bring her album ‘Land Of Gold’ to the Happiest Music Festival’s new home. The Grammy Award winning sitar player had The Dewarist stage filled to full capacity with an impressive start, before the psychedelic performance slowly started to fade away into a monotonous show. Anoushka Shanker picked up the pace once again for the last time when she was joined by the Tabla Maestro, Karsh Kale, and her sturdy attempt in recreating Pandit Ravi Shanker’s ‘Reunion’ as the final act on The Dewarist stage.

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The Happiest Music Festival’s home saw desi Hip-Hop rewrite history on the line day at the Breezer Vivid Village. Tripura’s rhythm and poetry front runner, Borkung Hrangkhawl, took the fans by surprise with his implusive set. With the perferct amount of bass, synth-glitch beats and light-paced rapping skills, Borkung Hrangkhawl, took the Breezer Vivid Village to a flying on the final day after Funk Assassin’s mellow set. With the increasing audience by the passing minute, BK went on to give the fans of Hip-Hop with his freestyle mini-verse and improvising skills, something to memories until the next weekender.

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The Hip-Hop fever continued with Punjab’s Prabhdeep and Bombay 70’s Naezy bringing their collaborative project, Prabh x Naezy, to the Breezer Vivid Village. With the mood set, Desi Hip-Hop’s chat topper, Divine along with DJ Spin Doctor and drummer Jai Row Kovi, lit up the stage. The Voice from the streets rang loud when Divine introduced Pune to his latest collaboration with Raja Kumari. The Desi hip-hop hero brought out Bombay Basement front-man, Bobkat and Mumbai-based rapper Enkore on to the stage before dropping his fire collaboration with Nucleya, ‘Scene Kya Hai’.

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On the other hand, after a fantastic start to the Bacardi House Party stage and Bacardi Arena with Mali and Spud In The Box, The Kerala’s up-beat acoustic outfit, When Chai Met Toast, delivered one of the best sets of the festival at the Bacardi House Party stage.

Nh7 WeekenderAfter a dreamy folk-rock performance by the six-piece act from Kerala, the fans saw a disappointing performance by the Leeds-based band, Eagulls, before Something For Kate front-man, Paul Dempsey, took charge of the closing duties at the Bacardi House Party stage.

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Kolkata’s Alt-Pop/Rock Kistch band, The Ganesh Talkies, lead by Suyasha Sengupta powered through their set at the Bacardi Arena with the crowd-pleasing hits from ‘In Technicolor’. Randeep Bose showed off his guitar playing skills on the bands single, Protest, from their upcoming EP and their latest release, ‘The Great Indian Freak show.’

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The high impact set by The Ganesh Talkies was followed by yet another stellar set by the Kerala’s rock music trailblazers, Thaikkundam Bridge. The 14 piece band from God’s own country put up a orchestral performance that saw Vijay Nair taking to stage to talking about the one of a kind show.

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The Breezer Vivid Village witnessed for the first time ever, beat-maker and Hip-hop legend, DJ Premier, light up the Happiest music festival with his old-skool set. DJ Premier had the fans on their feet from the word go with his tremendous scratching and emceeing skills, leaving the a thousand fan’s jaws dropped with every beat.

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The American music producer left no stones unturned on his debut in India leaving the fans wanting more, as he became the first ever hip-hop act to headline a music festival in India.

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With just over an hour on the clock before the festival bid Farewell to its fans, Bollywoood’s finest playback singer and music composer, Shankar Mahavedan lead the way to showcase the countries exceptional folk music culture. Having drawn the largest crowd of the night at the Bacardi Arena, Shankar Mahadevan was joined bu Rajasthan’s Mame Khan, flautist and singer Rasika Shaker and some of the best musical talents from the film industry.

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With a mix of independent folk music and some of the greatest Bollywood hits orchestrated with 28 different musicians, the four-time national award winner, Shankar Mahaevan, brought the Happiest Music Festival’s 7th edition to a close with his highly celebrated, ‘Breathless’, leaving the fans walking back home with a smile on their faces.

The testament of the success of the 7th edition of the Happiest Music Festival was marked with the growing audience, Nucleya’s bass game, the raise of Hip-Hop and Steven Wilson’s stellar show!

Image Credits: Clique Photography, Chuck, Hariharan Iyer, Himanshu Rohilla, Maanas Singh & Parizad D 

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