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Mahindra Blues Festival Announces Band Hunt

The Mahindra Blues Band Hunt gives one upcoming artist the chance to perform at the fifth edition of the festival

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Jan 16, 2015
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One winning artist from the Mahindra Blues Band Hunt will get a 30-minute slot at the fifth edition of the festival this February in Mumbai. Photo: Prashin Jagger

One winning artist from the Mahindra Blues Band Hunt will get a 30-minute slot at the fifth edition of the festival this February in Mumbai. Photo: Prashin Jagger

It seems like the organizers of the Mahindra Blues Fest are out to recognize newer, younger talent among the country’s blues bands. While every edition of the festival has featured instrumental blues rock act Blackstratblues and Shillong blues rock duo Soulmate, this year, the festival will choose one band based on a public voting system and jury scores to perform at the fifth edition in Mumbai. The winner of the band hunt will perform a 30-minute set on the first day of the two-day festival at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studios, slated to take place next month, featuring performances from blues guitarists such as Buddy Guy, Doyle Bramhall II, Thorbjorn Risager and 15-year-old Quinn Sullivan. Says Owen Roncon, director of Fountainhead Promotions and Events, who organize the Mahindra Blues Festival, “Since this is our fifth year, we wanted to bring in new talent, but it’s never easy to pick just one or two bands on your own. The Band Hunt is our way of encouraging the blues.”

Blues artists looking to take part must post a video of a minute-long performance to the Mahindra Blues Festival’s Facebook Wall, along with a short artist biography. Public voting takes place through the number of ‘likes’ for the video posted on the festival’s page. In case of multiple video uploads by one band or artist, the first video to have been posted on the Mahindra Blues Wall will be taken into consideration as opposed to the one with the highest likes by the same band. Says Roncon, “Social media isn’t the fairest judge all the time. Just because you have the most votes doesn’t mean you’re the best band out there.” The Band Hunt will also be judged by Blackstratblues guitarist Warren Mendonsa and guitarist Ashu Phatak, co-founder of live venue Blue Frog and the True School of Music. With a 40 percent weightage given to judge scores, the remaining 60 percent will be tallied from public votes.

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The current list of bands with the most number of votes include Chennai’s Blues Conscience, followed by Surat guitarist Ayushi Karnik. Other artists in contention include Mumbai blues rock act Kanchan Daniel and the Beards, acoustic group ADM Revival and upcoming blues rock band The Tripp. Roncon says they’ve even got entries from Indonesia. Adds the organizer, “The big point is that they want to play blues and secondly, that they want to play at the Mahindra Blues Festival”

While entries will go on until the end of January, judging will also begin in the last week of this month. To vote for your favorite band go here. Contest details here.

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