An adventure-meets-music festival in a scenic lake-facing locale. Two beach music festivals. Through last week, we were greeted with news of these additions to an otherwise predictable itinerary. Their plans and playlists, we’re sure, will bring a smile to the many Mumbai thrill-seekers, constantly in search of offbeat activities, not the run-on-the-mill variety.
We’re also pretty sure that the news will be a green signal for corporates and big-ticket brands to head to these destinations — lock, stock and signboard. After all, music fests are increasingly emerging as hotspots for Mr Moneybags & Co to flash their agenda in bright neon colours. And it is this factor, by default that invites another huge concern. It’s a no-brainer to realize that the environment in these pristine locations comes under direct threat as a result of such human invasions.
Both the seaside gigs, one of which is being touted as Asia’s longest-running beach festival (75 days), might end up causing unspeakable damage to the area. We’ve visited both venues in the past and civic sense remains a worry. Now, imagine teeming crowds descending on these fragile locations, possibly, in thousands. The expected aftermath doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Likewise, with the adventure and music festival; it will take off beside a lake, and is nestled in an secluded part of the lower Sahyadris. This gross neglect has emerged as a bugbear for several festivals held in the middle of sensitive zones. Permissions have been gifted away; restrictive areas have come under threat, and rules, flouted. On the bright side, we’ve also seen how a few gigs have successfully driven home the point that environmentally-cool gigs are possible, sans preachy messages, and when delivered in the right doses.
We dearly hope that in all three instances, the organizers insist on exercising the strictest controls and rules to keep the environment topmost on their mind. This can aid in becoming symbolic of a new, cool India, and serve as examples for others to follow. Environment-friendly can also mean music-friendly. Play it loud, so everyone can hear.
The writer is Features Editor of mid-day