Enchanted Valley Carnival Launches This December
Brit artist Chicane, German trance duo Cosmic Gate and other EDM artists to perform at the new, tented festival near Mumbai
The signs of the great Indian festival boom are here. Every year, the festival calendar sees new additions, and fortunately, some of them continue to see subsequent editions. The Bacardi NH7 Weekender launched in Pune in 2010 and over the years, other metros including Delhi and Bengaluru got their own edition of the multi-genre festival. In 2011, Storm Festival made its debut in Coorg, while 2012 saw the attention shift to a small town in Arunachal Pradesh with the Ziro Festival of Music. This year, the plush township of Aamby Valley located near Lonavala will host its first edition of a multi-genre tended festival, Enchanted Valley Carnival [EVC], which will combine both music and adventure sports.
EVC is neither a destination festival like Ziro or Escape in Naukuchiatal, where attendees plan a weekend getaway around the music festival nor is it a city festival like Weekender. It’s somewhat in between the two, just like its location in AambyValley, clutched between Pune and Mumbai. Organized by Twisted Entertainment, a newly-launched event company, EVC is slated to take place between December 6th and 8th, on the same weekend that Avicii performs in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru as part of the Sunburn Arena tour. Says the co-founder of EVC, Shoven Shah, “We are not competing with any other festival. It’s a little away from the city, so the whole concept is around getting people from Mumbai and Pune, which is not too far but still allows them to get away from their routine life.”
Shah conceptualized the festival along with Shaju Ignatius, who has previously worked as a consultant at Percept India, the events and communications firm that organizes the annual dance music festival, Sunburn. “It’s a concept that we’ve been thinking of for the last two years,” says Shah. “It all started with traveling abroad and looking at festivals there. So we thought of getting something on the international lines down to India,” he adds, referring to Tomorrowland in Belgium and Electric Zoo Festival, which takes place at an island near New York City.
The organizers are wary to call EVC an EDM festival and prefer the term “experiential music festival,” but the lineup leans towards dance music. Of the four stages planned for the fest, three are dedicated to EDM. And though the fourth stage – tagged the “live stage” features festival favorites such as The Raghu Dixit Project, Shaa’ir + Func, Indian Ocean and Swarathma and more, it also sees a few drum & bass and dubstep artists on the roster. International acts on the bill also include EDM stars such as German trance producer ATB, who makes his India debut, British producer Chicane, who returns to India after a show at Blue Frog, Mumbai in 2012 and German trance duo Cosmic Gate among others. Shah insists, “We are not doing an electronic music festival, though we have a lot of electronica artists coming. At the moment, it [EDM] is what the people listen to and what the youth relates to. But at the same time we have artists from other genres. Electronica is big right now, but we plan to be fluid in our approach of what genres we will offer every year.”
A majority of acts on the bill may have already debuted in India, but Ignatius feels it’s the experience at EVC that sets it apart. “What we are doing is music and adventure, which I think is a unique proposition to this festival,” says Ignatius. While flea markets and food courts are regular offerings at multiple festivals across the country, others such as the Coorgi camping music festival, Storm, have already aimed at merging music with adventure sports and EVC also plans to offer its audience the bigger festival experience. Adds Ignatius, “Fortunately, Aamby Valley has the infrastructure for water sports like jet ski-ing, kayaking and rappelling and adventure sports such as paintball, zorbing, rock climbing and camping, which are not so easily available in Mumbai and Pune.”
With an impressive fanbase on Facebook already [EVC has over 45,000 fans ahead of the festival], the organizers are expecting a turnout of 8,000 attendees. In the run-up to the three-day festival, which will feature 65 artists [few additions are yet to be announced], American electro house biggie Steve Aoki, who performed in India last year and headlines DNA Entertainment’s Sound Awake festival in December, will return to play at an EVC promotional party in Mumbai this November.
Enchanted Valley Carnival takes place from December 6th to December 8th, 2013. Entry: Rs 9,0000 (VIP season pass), Rs 4,250 (Regular season pass) and Rs 3,750 (student season pass). Tickets available here.
This article appeared in October 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.