The big fest is here

Musical platform

Known in its initial years as Lawcommotion, this competition-cum-festival has been the much-needed platform for independent bands struggling to find their place in the growing indie music scene in the country.

Being one of the few annual all-India competitions of its sort, it has gained immense popularity over the years, especially so because it offers the biggest prize money to the winning band compared to any other college fest. Besides, it is one of the only fests where original music by a band is given so much value over anything else.

Last year, the winners of the competition were Mumbai-based progressive rock band, ‘Goddess Gagged’. “Winning it was a turning point and gave us breakthrough in to the music scene. Our fan following, which was not much then, expanded overnight,” says Siddharth Basrur, the band frontman.

“The fest has been around for a really long time and it’s the brand value of it that gave us the push,” he adds. As part of the competition, fifty bands are given twenty-minute long slots each on the first two days to impress the judges. Bands are judged on five categories – originality, synchronisation, stage presence, instruments, and overall performance.

The third day sees the top five compete for the big prize, as well as some special acts and headlining acts. This year, a Strawberry Fields Convention – a three-panel discussion on various aspects of music –has also been planned.

While talking of the fest, Siddarth Abraham, vocalist and guitarist of Solder, a Bangalore-based rock band, says, “It is a great opportunity for upcoming bands to test the waters and see the response to their music. We got a lot of exposure because that year, a huge crowd had come for it.

This year, heavy social media marketing is being done and a buzz has been created. We’ve to wait and see what happens.”  Solder was only three months old when it participated in 2009 and ended as runner up to the winning band, ‘Blacklisted’. The Strawberry Fields Fest will be held from November 25 to 27. Entry is free for all.

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