Independence Rock to make comeback in bigger avatar

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New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Rock music lovers in India have a reason to rejoice as Independence Rock, the country’s oldest music festival for the genre, is making a comeback this year after a hiatus of three years.

In its 2016 edition, the iconic festival — which has seen performances from some of the biggest names in Indian rock and metal groups like Parikrama, Zero, Pentagram, Motherjane, Them Clones, Demonic Resurrection, among others — will host the finals in Mumbai in August.

Shankar B, CEO of Fourth Dimension Media solutions, has joined hands with Farhad Wadia — the moving force and longtime promoter of Independence Rock — to bring the event again to the country’s headbangers.

Shankar says that the response has been “overwhelming” and his mailbox is already cluttered with entries for this year’s edition.

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Asked about the headlining acts for the event, Shankar said it will be “really big”.

“We haven’t decided the headlining acts yet. The kind of response we have received is overwhelming… People have been calling from cities like Srinagar, Visakhapatnam… So we will wait for the big day to come for the announcements,” Shankar told IANS, adding that the headlining acts will be Indian bands.

“This year, the event will take place across six cities in India — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. The format will be slightly different. We will have pub editions before the grand finale. We are expecting over 30,000 people there,” he added.

With the closure of popular festivals for rock music like the Great Indian Rock and the long absence of Independence Rock, one would think that the scene in the country faded away. However, Shankar says that nowadays clients are more open to partner with them for the event.

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“If you look at it, there weren’t enough platforms. Most of the properties that started, they have died down due to various reasons. There were lack of sponsors,” Shankar said.

“Independence Rock has been one of the oldest in the nation. We took a hiatus of three years to let the dust to settle down. During these years, many music channels have come up. There are more and more English music channels which are going to be launched in the country. Seven to eight years ago, it wasn’t like that,” he added.

He said that the “challenges and resistances” he faced back then are no longer there.

“Today, artistes need to find a way to reach out to their audiences. TV is very expensive and so is print. Radio is only audio, not visual. When I am giving you a platform to perform in front of 25,000-30,000 people, imagine the kind of connectivity. That’s the biggest kick,” Shankar asserted.

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So, does that mean that the comeback of Independence Rock can usher in a new dawn for the country’s rock music scene?

“The people who have grown up with Independence Rock are all excited. It will be a welcome treat for all the fans. They will say, ‘Good, I waited for three years’,” Shankar said.

There is also a possibility for the finalists of Independence Rock to record an album with a prominent record company.



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