A fest through which Bhimsen Joshi lives

A fest through which Bhimsen Joshi lives

Joshi had invited a few voalists and instrument players to perform in the festival, which became an instant hit with the people. The festival attained such a fame in later years that it became an annual event and it was considered an issue of prestige to perform in it.

A living monument to Bhimsen Joshi, the festival is usually held in December in Pune. It has become an anual pilgrimage for Hindustani classical music lovers and performers.

Joshi conducted the festival annually since 1953, until his retirement in 2002. Since then, his son Srinivas, himself a vocalist, and Shrikant Deshpande, a disciple, organise the event.

Till the last decade, the festival would begin at around 9 pm and continue throughout the night, ending in the early hours of the morning. Among those who achieved their first break in classical singing and instrument playing are renowned vocalist Parveen Sultana, and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.

Pandit Jasraj attended the event regularly, and so did sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. The presence of Pandit Ravi Shankar (Sitar), Ustad Akbar Ali Khan (Sarod), Ustad Alla Rakha (tabla), Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute), Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (santoor) and late Gangubai Hangal at the festival made it the most sought after event.

Every year till 2002, the festival would end with the classical rendition by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi on the third day.