Ragasthan, the 3-day sensory extravaganza in the middle of the Thar desert, kicked off with a glorious first day. It offered attendees a wide variety of Pop, Rock, World Folk, Electronic, Progressive, Indie, Acoustic and Unplugged music. Set in the magical sand dunes 400 km. from Jaisalmer City, the Thar has barely heard music so soulful as Ragasthan’s 3-day line-up.
Ragathan 2018, in its third edition, is centered on the theme of ‘Unbelong’, where it encourages fans to unbelong to all their strings, so as to truly belong to themselves. Set up against challenging logistics, team Ragasthan did the seemingly impossible tasks of arranging a camping music festival right in the middle of the Thar.
The weekend was dotted with spectacular performances by new and emerging artists who shared stage with bands with a global following. Bawari Basanti, Shadow and Light, Fuzz Culture, Prabh Deep, Dhruv Visvanath, Tetseo Sisters, Taba Chake, Daira, Cowboy and Sailorman, the lively Barmer Boys, Serbian band Naked, Afro Israeli act Farafi, and Canada’s Delhi to Dublin were some of the artists who enthralled the attendees. Delhi’s homegrown Man.GoesHuman played a set powerful enough to kick up a sandstorm but in hindsight, those heavy vocals and guitaring set the tone right for what was to follow that weekend. While some artists performed solo sets at the Birakha – acoustic stage, bands took on the 44 feet high Peacock stage Morio which transformed into Ammara just as the stage-grills opened. Harley Rider, music and life enthusiast Aminz opened the stage setting the tone for a banger of a party that was to be followed every night. Jaipur’s homegrown electro scene took centre stage with Pal-E, Reverse Osmosis and Kala while Israeli artist BEMET collaborated with Rajasthani sitar player Imran Khan, for the first time ever. Familiar Music – a collective of Djs from the Netherlands made their love for outdoor settings known as they belted some powerful techno. Loose, Murklin and Mumbai’s favorite Arsh left with a massive fan following. While some danced to electronic beats, others took time out to enjoy the serenity of the desert and the experience of watching films under the open sky full of stars.
Each stage was a comfortable distance from the other, easy enough to walk and far enough for the music to not filter through. The patrons were seen having a whale of a time as the festival managed to bring people together for their love of the outdoors, adventure and music.
The festival saw over 1000 music fans assemble at Ragasthan, greeting from the far corners of the globe. Some made the soaking-in-luxury premium Swiss tents their home, while others set up their abode in the very popular ‘Bring your own tent’ section, pitching themselves for the festival. The flea market that had an array of stalls, offered a variety of cuisines such as Rajasthani, Burgers, Waffles, Fresh Fruits and juices. We were zapped and thrilled to find a Japanese sake bar in the middle of the desert. Live art and contact improvisation workshops, mural paintings, Frisbee games, head massages and screen printing Ragasthan on your Tee were some of the other fun activities that we encountered at this beautifully engaging destination festival.
The 3-day festival concluded on Sunday with Kusai making sure attendees left the festival with memories and definite plans to return for the next edition.