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Digital Festival From The Island Kicks Off This Weekend, Featuring Pentagram, Ankur & The Ghalat Family, Raghav Meattle

The likes of Tejas, The Koniac Net, The Colour Compound and more also join the lineup for a set of shows to be livestreamed from Mumbai’s Island City Studios from October 11th to December 27th

David Britto Oct 10, 2020

(From left) Artists Raghav Meattle, Pentagram and Ankur Tewari will perform at the first editon of digital festival From The Island. Photos: Courtesy of the artist (Meattle); Colston Julian/SaltManagement.com (Pentagram); Prarthna Singh (Tewari)

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The concept of organizing livestreamed gigs from a studio was on the mind of drummer-producer and founder of Mumbai’s Island City Studios (previously of Cotton Press Studio) Jehangir Jehangir, way before the pandemic hit. “It was always a thought in my head from the very beginning, but I never got my act together to get down to doing it,” says Jehangir.

With live gigs currently obsolete, the musician realized that this was the perfect time to do what he had always wanted — livestream shows from his studio. Earlier this year he spoke to singer-songwriter Clayton Hogermeer about the idea and the two started brainstorming on how they’d present this concept. Jehangir says, “Let’s do this a little bit bigger, plan it properly and get 12 artists. Do something in a community sense that goes forward.” He adds, “He [Hogermeer] got on and started pushing things a little bit harder and got a team together.”

All the work Jehangir, Hogermeer and the folks around them have done behind the scenes has led to the new digital festival From The Island, which kicks off this Sunday, livestreamed directly from Island City Studios. The event features some of Mumbai’s finest talent spread across a dozen shows up until December 27th.

For the first edition, the organizers decided to program artists that they’re familiar with due to the fact that there needed to be a certain level of trust to interact in a closed environment. Jehangir says, “All those factors have to be taken into account and we wanted it to be live. So, for it to be live, people have to get into the room at the same time, we need to have other people around, because it’s not a pre-recorded thing where you can plan a little bit better and do it with fewer people.”

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The festival begins with Hogermeer accompanied by an all-star band tomorrow while subsequent Sundays will feature performances by Jehangir’s ska outfit The Fanculos, singer-songwriters Tejas and Nikhil D’Souza, folk-rock group Ankur & The Ghalat Family, pop-rock band The Colour Compound, instrumental horn collective Bombay Brass, seasoned rockers Pentagram, electronic duo Nothing Anonymous, singer-guitarist Raghav Meattle, rock band The Koniac Net and a surprise act concluding the fest on December 27th, which Jehangir stays mum about when we ask him about it.

Tickets for the festival range from ₹399 for individual shows, ₹1199 to catch four acts and ₹2,999 for all 12 gigs. The money generated from ticket sales will be shared with the organizers and artists evenly. “The whole point of this was to get all of us as artists kind of more responsible for our promotion. Also, because we’re trying to build this as a community so that if we work together if we really push, we can get something out there, that’s the point,” says Jehangir. He adds, “Even in a time like this, we can still altogether make some money to survive and get people to listen and be involved.”

While Hogermeer chimes in and says expect “good music,” Jehangir stresses that this is the main factor and the way they’ve worked it out, people can enjoy visually-pleasing camerawork and a live studio performance atmosphere. Hogermeer says, “I feel like people in Bombay and even around the world, the way they engage with live music right now is that live music is on the periphery of the experience. And I think we have no other option right now and are really trying to take advantage of the fact that people are sitting at home and they have no other option but to queue into what’s going on.”

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Although their focus is currently fixated on the first edition of From The Island, the organizers are also looking ahead with the possibility of hosting an on-ground festival once things are safer. “The hope is that eventually to put up a proper offline festival, run by the artists for the artists,” says Hogermeer. He adds, “My personal perspective on this is that I feel like we’ve got too many people doing things like this but they don’t really understand what artists need or want.”

Click here to buy tickets. 

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