Music festival by the sea- Nariyal Paani
Just a ferry-ride away from the concrete jungles of Mumbai, I landed up in a small village called Morapada nestled in the middle of coconut trees. Following the sound emanating from the waves of the Arabian sea and following the different colored flags of its interesting logo; I reached ‘Nariyal Paani’- a music festival by the sea. Alibag, a coastal town in the Konkan region of Maharashtra hosts ‘Nariyal Paani’ every-year and this was its third edition.
The festival site was an enchanting and secluded location by the sea, which was specially a very unique experience for me, specially attending an independent music festival like this. The first vibe that I got entering the festival was the free-spirited bohemian energy from the people: audience, performers and even the organizers. It didn’t take long for people to make friends, dance and sing together on the soulful and whimsical music around them.
A completely relaxed ambience was ensured by sandbags around to sit, thatched huts decorated with fairy lights, hammocks; servings of craft beer and tender coconuts! The stage overlooked the sea and the food was delicious which made the event a treat for heart and soul. The two-day music festival also had an option if you want to stay in a fantastic camp-site.
Nariyal Paani’s lineup had something for everyone- a great mix of artists from India’s underground music scene as well as some promising International artists. I lazed around under the shadows of the palm trees and let myself immerse in the sea of music ranging from indie pop to contemporary jazz, from Anand Bhagat’s Drum Circle to Bellatrax’s beat-boxing, from Run-Pussy-Run’s freak funk to Mabassa’s blend of Brazilian and African music and there was more -jazz and reggae, to electro-pop, hip-hop and rap.
I was lucky to interact with the 21-year old young artist Jordan Johnson who talked about his Indian roots as his mother was from the hills of Musoorie and how he loves performing in India. Jordan played some soulful original songs and also did some covers from different artists. I also caught up with the founder of ‘Run Pussy Run’ Gowri Jayakumar while she was chilling with her band-members. Gauri feels extremely positive about the progress of Independent Indian artists. She also talked about her journey of telling stories as a journalist to being a founder of “freak funk psycho-punk” project. And how she had an inherently strong urge to communicate with people through her music and tell untold stories. The common thing among all these artists was how much they loved performing in ‘Nariyal Paani’ which has a great vibe and a stage which is so conducive for artists like them to perform.
What else? I loved the fact that Nariyal Paani is a zero-plastic festival, provides clean facilities with eco-friendly ethos, allows local communities in the surrounding villages to be part of it and provides employment around them to help and nurture an overall economic growth. Also, the charity initiatives by ‘Small change NGO’ allowed me to have an insight about different NGOs which are being benefited by this umbrella organization. If I have to say one thing which differentiates it from other festivals, I would say the mindfulness of the organizers who are inclusive of different people from different background. Most importantly, leaving no trash behind!