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Swaying to the teenage beat

Published : Oct 8, 2017, 12:26 am IST
Updated : Oct 8, 2017, 5:42 am IST

The city will be playing host to a music festival exclusively for teenagers.

Dharavi Rocks performing last year
 Dharavi Rocks performing last year

The city will be playing host to a music festival exclusively for teenagers. The organisers speak about the diverse line-up of the festival and how it is promoting a safe, drug and alcohol-free space for teens to enjoy their music.

Picture a music festival headlined by some of the biggest artists the industry is currently witnessing. You see a massive stage with a magnificent backdrop, thousands of fans grooving to the music. This is you picturing a music festival from the perspective of a young woman/ man. But, if you are a parent of a teenager, sending your teen to a music festival might be a nightmarish thought — alcohol, cigarettes, drugs — all in abundance. Pretty scary, right?

Ujjla ManchandaUjjla Manchanda

Ujjla Manchanda, parent of two, started Totem Pole with the intention of providing a safe space for teenagers to enjoy their music. “Every year, the country sees several music festivals. But each one of these festivals isn’t exactly safe for a teenager to visit. There are drugs and alcohol easily available — the stuff nightmares are made of, honestly,” she says, when asked how the idea for Totem Pole was birthed. When Ujjla and her husband were bearing the brunt of their daughters insisting on going to music festivals, they finally decided to take matters into their own hand; for the sake of their daughters and other parents in the city as well. 

The festival, which will be spread across three days in the suburbs of Bandra, will be seeing quite an interesting line-up. From the musician in front of the green screen, Baba Sehgal, to the really popular (and acclaimed) percussion band Dharavi Rocks, a veriety of musicians will be taking to the stage at the festival. You’d imagine that a youth music festival would only have musicians and singers, but Totem Pole boasts of a diverse line-up. “We have a very young dancer Nicole Laena coming all the way from LA. She is an extremely talented 11-year-old who is making waves internationally with her talent,” says Ujjla. 

Baba SehgalBaba Sehgal

It is not just in terms of talent that the festival is diverse but also in terms of ethnicities. “This second edition will have musicians coming in from the SAARC countries of India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka,” Ujjla says, adding that the SAARC nations are a melting point of culture and that is something that teenagers need to be exposed to. “The youth is always listening to international pop, but are rarely aware of the musical geniuses closer home. It is important they learn more about that and even enjoy the music we have to offer.”

Baba Sehgal, who will be headlining the evening, is really psyched to be performing at the festival. For the indie rapper, interacting with a young crowd is very important. One of the very few musicians from the 90s who are still relevant, he says that every year, there is a fresh young audience that is born — the audience that his music caters to. “My music is really clean and I prefer keeping it simple. And my simple two-three liners connect with all young people,” he says. 

Nicole LaenaNicole Laena

Dharavi Rocks, the percussion junk band, is also psyched to be performing. Vinod Shetty, a labour lawyer and manager of the band, says, “We performed last year as well. Teenagers are a fun crowd to perform for — they take the energy of the performers and give it back multifold!” Vinod adds that he is hoping that the festival will mark a new benchmark for the band.

Tags: music festival, dharavi rocks