Fresh Plot: The Pune Edition Of The NH7 Weekender Music Festival Has A New Venue

Vijay Nair, Only Much Louder.

Vijay Nair. Photo: Only Much Louder.

For the first time in four years, the Pune edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender will be held at a new venue and it’s a little closer to Mumbai. The 2016 instalment, which will be held from Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 4, will take place at Life Republic, a township under construction in Hinjewadi, an IT hub located on the outskirts of the city.

Vijay Nair, the CEO of Only Much Louder, the company that organises the music festival, cited a number of reasons for choosing this location: the proximity of a number of hotels, increased holding capacity and the abundance of parking space. A change in the venue was expected, as Nair had announced at the end of the 2015 edition that it was clear that the festival had “outgrown” the Laxmi Lawns ground in Magarpatta City, which had become uncomfortably crowded over the years.

This was despite the fact that they turned away thousands of people last year. “I was really panicking through [A. R.] Rahman[‘s performance],” said Nair. At Life Republic, “the main stage (also known as the Bacardi Arena) can hold up to 40,000. It’s exactly double the size of the stage last year.” The traffic in Pune was also a factor in deciding the new venue as it would take over 45 minutes to travel from Koregaon Park to Magarpatta City. Most attendees, Nair presumes, will book one of the many hotels in and around Hinjewadi, which are used by visiting IT professionals.

In addition to much-needed breathing room, Life Republic will also have space for about 7,000 cars close to the festival ground unlike Laxmi Lawns where “people had to park 15 to 20 minutes away” from the venue. There will be plenty of room for larger stages and art installations this time round. “All we wanted was a big piece of empty land,” said Nair. The festival ground is likely to have a circular layout making it easier to get to from one stage to another. Like last year, there will be five stages: the Bacardi Arena and the Bacardi House Party; the Dewarists and the Other Stage; and the Breezer Vivid Village.

However Weekender 2016 will not be a camping festival as Nair had hinted last year. “Not for another two years,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think “any city (in the country) is ready” for a true camping festival in terms of the infrastructure needed when it comes to adequate water supply for toilet and shower facilities, something that Only Much Louder aims to help build in the near future.

Among his personal recommendations this year are Welsh alternative rock band The Joy Formidable which he caught at Glastonbury a few years ago. “They’ve got big rock hooks; she (vocalist Ritzy Bryan) is one of the most incredible singers”, said Nair. “We’ve sent them an offer every year.” While there’s no name as familiar as Rahman in the line-up, Nair was surprised at the response they’ve received to British progressive rock star Steven Wilson, who tops the Pune bill. “He’s the highest-selling headliner ever.”

Tickets for the Pune edition of the NH7 Weekender festival are being sold on

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