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Goa Gets its First All-Original Music Festival ‘Goa Music Fest’

The first edition of the festival will be held on May 28th at Tito’s Arena, including an all-Goa lineup of blues/jazz band Elvis Lobo Project, rock band Varun & The Rise Nation, percussionist Carlos Gonsalves and more

David Britto May 26, 2017
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Goa's latest festival is all set to change the beach state's covers-dominated music scene.

Goa’s latest festival is all set to change the beach state’s covers-dominated music scene.

Goa has always been associated with music. Historically, its status as a former Portuguese colony ensured that Western styles of music thrived in the beach state, but it has also served as a gestation chamber for Indian classical and Konkani music as well, yielding big talent such as singer Lorna Cordeiro, dubbed the ‘Nightingale of Goa,’ violinist Anthony Gonsalves and multi-instrumentalist Chris Perry, to name a few. In recent years, Goa has hosted EDM festivals Sunburn and VH1 Supersonic. However, despite all the noise, the local scene has slowed to a snail’s pace, prioritizing tourist-pleasing cover bands over original music.

This sorry state of affairs is set to change, hopefully, with the inauguration of Goa’s newest music festival, creatively titled ‘Goa Music Fest.’ The festival’s first edition is set to take place on May 28th at Tito’s Arena, and will exclusively feature local original music.

Though the need for original music out of Goa has been around for a while now, the idea for the festival was born more recently than you might believe. “I had this concept for an all original festival in my mind a few months ago,” says singer-songwriter Varun Carvalho, the organizer behind the festival. Before taking on the role of event organizer, Carvalho released two albums 2009’s I Got To Go Home and 2014’s You Walk Alone. Prior to that, he used to be a dentist, of all things. “I was speaking to the owner of Tito’s, and he said ‘Let’s do it,’ so we went ahead and started planning,” he says.

Organizer Varun Carvalho himself will perform at the festival with his band, The Rise Nation. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Organizer Varun Carvalho himself will perform at the festival with his band, The Rise Nation. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

This Sunday’s festival features an all-Goan lineup of artists spanning multiple genres, including singer-songwriters Valerie D’Silva and Alexis Reed, electronic producer Reeves, regional big band Konkani Goan All Stars, percussionist Carlos Gonsalves, blues/jazz group Elvis Lobo Project and Carvalho’s own rock/fusion band The Rise Nation.

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The festival will go on from 4 pm until 10 pm. Aside from the music, there will be a plethora of other activities at the event, ranging from art, a beer garden, BBQ pits, tattoo parlors, a bazaar and clothing and merchandise stalls. The proceeds from all these pop-up stores will go towards a charity foundation providing music instruments to street children.

The doors for the festival open at 3 pm and entry is free. “We’ve kept the entry free so that kids can come checkout the bands and hopefully get inspired to create original music,” says Carvalho. The organizer is already planning for future editions of the festival. “We want to make it into a big three-day festival and have bands not only from India but even international bands,” he says.

Click here for more details.

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