Highlights + Gallery from Magnetic Fields Festival 2014
Magnetic Fields Festival 2014
Music till dawn, kite-flying parties at sunrise and a disco in the desert made the second edition of Magnetic Fields unforgettable
December: Having made a mark for introducing the freshest sounds from India and around the globe with its debut edition, Magnetic Fields, a music and arts festival held from December 12-14 at the 17th century palace in the heritage village of Alsisar in Shekhawati, Rajasthan, upped the ante in its second year.
Featuring rising stars from India and international legends, that included bass music don Mala, the three-day festival was an aural treat for the discerning music fan. But, like last year, the fun wasn’t limited to just music. The festival was a sensorial delight: there were stargazing workshops, morning yoga sessions, art installations and wandering poets that wrote haikus on the spot, dawn-breaking parties with kite-flying sessions, a treasure hunt with an attractive booty, traditional Rajasthani delicacies for the gourmand and even some local minstrels around the palace who added the Rajasthani touch with old folk tunes.
With acts like Mala, Weval, Dream Koala, DJ Vadim, Zahed Sultan, Nicholson, Sulk Station and Nischay Parekh on the line-up, Magnetic Fields had something on offer for every kind of musical taste. It introduced to music fans new-and-upcoming Indian talent like Begum and Soulspace and international rising stars like Dream Koala and Weval, as well as the sounds of pioneers like Mala, who closed the festival on Sunday night – with what can only be described as an incredible performance.
Mala, one of the formative names in the contemporary London bass scene, for many played THE set of the festival that ended with a singalong to Bob Marley’s “Is this love”. Playing in India for the first-time, Mala teased and treated the audience with sounds that borrowed from different genres like reggae, jazz and drum ’n bass and showed why he is a revered name for bass music fans across the world.
Dream Koala and Weval had generated a lot of buzz among music fans in India ever since the line-up went up and at Magnetic Fields they kept their fans’ faith. The Parisian dream pop sensation had the crowd swaying and moving to his music, that can be best described as ethereal. Weval, a young Dutch duo, closed the South stage – day stage – on Day Two with a set that had people dancing and screaming for more from the moment they started. They made another surprise appearance on the North Stage (night stage) a few hours later when they played a DJ set.
Zahed Sultan, a multi-media artist and producer from Kuwait, closed the South Stage on Day One, and gave a glimpse of the music that has made him a force to reckon with in the Arabian Gulf. Bangalore-based downtempo duo Sulk Station drew the loudest cheers on a cloudy Saturday afternoon and were even asked for an encore, which they duly obliged with. Makers of dreamy psychedelia, Begum, a band from Delhi, impressed with a set that was tight and music that stood out from the pack.
With the lineup divided between two stages – North stage (night stage), and the South stage (day stage), punters never had to choose between the two. The white South Stage – it was decorated with free-flowing chiffon strips that danced merrily in the breeze – was programmed till 11 pm after which the carnival-esque night stage came to life. And for those who weren’t satisfied with dancing till much later in the night, there were the secret party-till-dawn parties that came along with the added excitement of kite flying and breathtaking views of the sunrise in the desert.
Palace living and camping fun
A few hours’ drive from Delhi, Alsisar beckons those with a sense of history and adventure. Once the residence of the Thakur of Alsisar, the palace has hidden treasures in every nook and cranny, be it old family pictures or hunting equipment. Festival goers had the option of either living in luxury at the palace or camping out under the open sky, nomadic style in tents.
The Alsisar Mahal, a heritage hotel, with its intricately carved four poster beds and delicate Rajasthani motifs made for an incredible weekend getaway and added to the allure of the festival. This was a popular option for many and the palace rooms were sold out in just over two weeks.
For those who preferred to be closer to nature, the Bedouin tents were no less luxurious and had every little detail taken care of, including hot showers and electrical points. There was even a dedicated music stage for the campsite this year – Desert Oasis Disco – that started at noon on Saturday and Sunday till the festival site came to life. The campsite had close to 200 tents and was a beehive of activity through the night and day.
If one could live like a king, then one could eat like one too. The menu changed on a daily basis, offering the best of local cuisine and popular international favourites like pizzas, wraps, quiche and freshly brewed coffee. One of the most popular dishes were the paneer and lamb rolls, the lal maas, the thin and crispy jalebi and the hot , unlimited ‘breads’.
The Souk was a haven for those looking for a bargain, and to play dress up. One could buy handcrafted dresses, statement jewelry, or just play dress-up with jewels and headgear specially sourced for the festival.
About Magnetic Fields
Magnetic Fields is produced by Wild City, WeThePPL, Undercover Agents, THOT and Alsisar Mahal in collaboration with Border Movement, with support by Goethe Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum, Initiative Musik, Red Bull Kuwait and Resident Advisor.
Gallery (Credits: Nishant Shukla):