A carnival by the mountains


Imagine shaking a leg in the cooler climes up there! But where? The answer is a lakeside resort at the foothills of the lofty Himalayas.

Never mind the dip in the mercury-level as the beat of music is still soaring high with the electrifying extravaganza. And, by default if you happen to be a hard-core music-junkie at such a location, then trust your heart to escape into that wild wild zone of music-mania, far from the maddening din of a city-life!
The heavenly address is the sylvan site of Naukuchiatal in Uttarakhand, with which the music enthusiasts can bag a dream-date from May 24 till 26 to witness a gala carnival of music, clubbed with art. Befittingly called the Escape Festival, the colourful fiesta got off the ground only a few years ago when a group of like-minded, musically tuned-in people visited Naukuchiatal for a creative retreat to check if music andart could be coalesced into one and explored furthermore. The festival slowly evolved and became extremely popular, with more and more rockheads joining in thereafter. The destination is extremely pristine and beautiful, especially with the water-body forming as a nectarine- hub right at the centre.
Roughly 320 kms away from New Delhi, Naukuchiatal is situated within an easy, short driving-distance of five-six hours for the benefit of the die-hard enthusiasts, much eager to reach the venue to soak in the instant salvation from music. With its main source market being lodged in New Delhi, the place is a perfect haven to organise such a large-scale festival on the logistics front. The pleasant view of the lake also adds to the vibe of the fest and one of the stages at the Escape Festival has the lake as its backdrop.
When enquired about its unique specialty, the festival director L. Tochhawng alias Mama said, “Escape is an absolute creative sanctuary which houses several forms of art. Being a music festival per se, it primarily promotes a melange of genres namely, jazz, blues, folk, sufi and rock. This apart, it emerges as a home to a confluence of artists, writers, photographers, painters, graffiti-artists, performance artistes, tattoo-artists and potters, whose works are also highlighted upon the same platform. Thus, the ‘Escape Experience’ is a getaway
call from the mundane and the ordinary, from the daily hustle-bustle and the heat-and-dust, into the seething cauldron of creative expres ric artist-turned-fashion designer, critically-acclaimed painter Pallavi Rajkhowa, photographer-illustrator Mad Paule and lenswoman Mahima Bhatia will all be featured at this huge crowd-pulling show.
Amidst the must-watch segments of this sixth edition, the renowned late bassist Gyan Singh of the popular Indian rock-band Skinny Alley will be paid a much-awaited tribute this May-end. “Yeah, that’s right.
The outfit has been a regular feature at the Escape Festival since the past few seasons and the entire Escape family will be coming together for Gyan Singh, including his wife Jayashree, who is also the front-woman of the veteran group amongst other top musicians. The homage in his honour and memory will be a celebration of all that is truly good about the Indian music fraternity and certainly, all of which was embodied within the affable persona of Gyan Singh, the ultimate music man,” shares L. Tochhawng.
“We have always loved playing at The Lake Resort. The festival blows in like a refreshing breath of fresh air. It feels like a positive step for the growing, evolving and emerging music in India. Basically we are very fond of playing at Naukuchiatal. This year, it will be a Gyan Singh special episode for us and we’ll be whole-heartedly chasing his journey from the great old days to the present,” reveals Jayashree.
With an emphasis being always laid upon indie and electronica, rather than fusion or local folk to up the music-ante, often the collaborations on the dais tend to become impromptu and go unplanned amongst the
jamming instrumentalists or fusionistic vocalists. A dense footfall is expected this time around too from as far as the boondocks of Northeast or the urban upmarkets of Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Chandigarh. Plug in!

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