SulaFest 2018: Biggest Moments from the 11th Edition
Spellbinding performances by Amit Trivedi and Parov Stelar, heady wine tasting sessions and more
Consistency is perhaps one of the most underrated virtues in the music festival business. In a bid to get bigger and better, many annual events tend to overlook the fact that for a whole chunk of audience, familiarity breeds connect, not contempt. Come to think of it, that’s how loyalty is built. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that SulaFest in Nashik has, in the past few years, nurtured a loyal fanbase that comes for all or a few of these big reasons: the surreal experience of chilling in a picturesque vineyard over the weekend amidst familiar music; a delicious international lineup that is always exciting; the experiences of grape-stomping, wine-tastings etc.
And while the crowd at most Indian festivals is getting younger by the year, it’s heartwarming how SulaFest has consistency been attracting a diverse demography—from couples in their forties enjoying a weekend getaway to larger families with toddlers and preteens soaking in the happy vibe.
The 11th edition held on February 3rd and 4th was a two-day affair this year—the 2017 festival ran from Friday to Sunday—which meant that it looked and felt houseful both days. One could even say it was bursting at the seams, especially around the main stage. Here are four big moments from the festival:
1. When Amit Trivedi turned the crowd into one big choir
Considering how rarely Amit Trivedi performs public shows, watching him live with his big fat ensemble—complete with a kickass brass section and a bevy of singers—was a big treat for the audience. The composer had the crowd eating out of his hands performing tracks like “London Thumakda” and “Manja” but the most glorious bit was when the band launched into the soulful “Iktara.”
2. Ska was the limit when UK band The Beat feat. Ranking Roger took the stage
Sunset and ska went hand in hand at SulaFest when the UK band The Beat feat. Ranking Roger stirred up frenzy with their boisterous set. The best thing about a ska/reggae band is that you don’t really have to be a fan to dig their music and The Beat’s infectious energy was just what the crowd needed as it populated the main stage area at record speed.
3. Daytime sessions of wine tasting and cocktail making
Apart from the music-crazy attendees, SulaFest draws a crowd of small but dedicated oenophilists every year that binges on all the esoteric experiences the festival has to offer—from the wine tasting sessions to the tour of the winery and cocktail-making pop-ups. Our favorite was Beluga cocktail session at its pretty bar on site.
4. Parov Stelar’s headlining act
Austrian composer Marcus Füreder-led electro-swing band Parov Stelar’s performance on day one was everything you’d expect from a headlining act—a tight groovy set, matchless showmanship and great recall value. The band’s effect on the audience was reminiscent of when Dubioza Kolektiv (the Bosnia and Herzegovina hip-hop/dub/rock group) played the festival last year. Their set was one of the highlights of the festival, raising the benchmark for enormously entertaining never-seen-before music acts on an Indian festival stage. Kudos to SulaFest programming team!
All photos courtesy of SulaFest