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Alibaug gets its own beach festival Nariyal Paani

An architect and a café-owner get together to unveil Alibaug’s first beach music festival

Disha Deshpande Feb 18, 2015
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Alibaug's new festival venue Coconut Wadi| Photo credit: Nariyal Paani

Alibaug’s new festival venue – Coconut Wadi| Photo credit: Nihariekka Lohia

An intimate beach festival is brewing just a boat ride away from Mumbai. Alibaug will witness its first ever music festival,  quirkily titled Nariyal Paani, on Saturday 21st of February, on a two-acre  beach-front plot  called Coconut Wadi, at Morapada, a 10-minute drive from the main jetty.

The day-long festival, which begins at noon, will capture the laidback feel that one associates with this popular Mumbai weekend getaway and its earthy vibe. The maiden edition is organized by Tanvi Gupta, owner of  the  local café and design store Bohemyan Blue, and Sidhant Khanna, an architect specializing in building villas, many of them in Alibaug.

Khanna says that the idea of the festival came to them about a year ago. “We both work here, so we basically live in Alibaug half of the week. Getting sucked into the community, we wanted to do stuff here.” After meeting and sharing their ideas with Emmanuelle de Decker, founder of Mumbai-based music management company Gatecrash, they brought her on board to curate the festival. “I’ve been working on it [the line-up] since last November. The artists performing at Nariyal Paani are going to perform jazz, blues, soul, funk, world and hip-hop.  The vibe is very chilled, for all ages. The point is to enjoy being together, enjoy the beautiful surroundings with some good music.”

Coconut Wadi by the beach, Alibaug | Photo Credit: Nariyal Paani

Coconut Wadi by the beach, Alibaug | Photo Credit: Nihariekka Lohia

The artist line-up features Mumbai-based hip-hop and reggae act Bombay Bassment  who will team up with rappers Manmeet Kaur and Scorpion Boys in a collaborative act called The Funk Fraternity, Dharavi Rocks, a joint educational music and dance project of ragpickers and slum kids from Dharavi, Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café, known for blending Kabir’s poetry with contemporary music, jazz-soul singer Vivienne Pocha Ensemble, Delhi-based The Jass B’stards, UK based international collective Kefaya, Mumbai band Madfingers with Texan folk singer  Rodney Branigan, acoustic trio  Stella by Starlight, and  Bengaluru funk band ChandBibi and The Waste Candidates. Says Decker, “We’ve invited talented and creative musicians, who not only dedicate their passion to music, but who also have a very strong stage presence and give importance to the interaction with the audience.”  Adds Khanna, “It’s a boat ride to the festival. You are not stuck in traffic so when you get here you are already in a good mood. We are staying away from the EDM scene, differentiating [Nariyal Paani] from what is happening in India with regards to that.”

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For added allure, the festival organizers roped in acclaimed visual artist Sachin Pillai to  do light installations. Pillai is best known for creating videos for the likes of Monica Dogra and electronic acts like Sandunes and Nicholson. There will also be activities such as star gazing, bangle making, archery, live art on boats and bonfire jam sessions. According to Khanna the venue can accommodate around 500 people. “If we are successful this year, we will make it a three-day festival next year onwards,” he says.

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