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Teen Music Festival Totem Pole Kicks Off in Mumbai

The three-day event targeting youngsters boasts performances by folk rock act The Raghu Dixit Project, a jazz workshop with London world music band Kefaya and a contest for up-and-coming young bands

Riddhi Chakraborty Jan 15, 2016

With the ever rising popularity of music festivals, India is seeing a surge in unique concepts. The latest to hit the scene is Totem Pole, a music fest designed exclusively for the Indian teenager, which kicks off today in Mumbai.

Ashish Manchanda, musician and founder of the music and sound engineering institute The Media Tribe and Flying Carpet Productions, will be curating Totem Pole. He feels there is a dearth of family-friendly music festivals in India. “The festivals that do exist don’t offer an experience suitable for teens due to the smoking and alcohol-driven atmosphere. Hence, young people do not have access to live music for the most part.” According to him, the under-18 audience in India is a super-consumer of music and needs catering to through live shows, but parents are hesitant to send their kids to events where alcohol and other hazards run rampant. Totem Pole hopes to change that with a non-alcoholic, non-smoking atmosphere and increase Indian teens’ exposure to live music.

Raghu Dixit Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

The Raghu Dixit Project will perform at Totem Pole. Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

In addition to hosting performances by popular Bengaluru folk-rock band The Raghu Dixit Project and rock outfit Best Kept Secret from the same city, Totem Pole will also organize a workshop with Norwegian dancer Navid Rezvani aka B-Boy Spaghetti, a jazz workshop with world contemporary band Kefaya and seminars addressing creative, technical and business aspects of the music industry.

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The festival will also introduce Top of the Pole, a school band contest where the winner will be named Totem Pole’s Band of the Year. Manchanda, who will be one of the key producers on the winning band’s album, says, “We feel it’s important to encourage young talent by offering them the right opportunities and platform. The band will be groomed by professionals from the industry and the music video will be shot and directed by the individuals behind artists like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and John Mayer.” Music director and percussionist Ranjit Barot and photographer Jatin Kampani will be joining Manchanda as judges.


Totem Pole will be held at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, from January 15th to 17th.


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