Independence Rock, now Mahindra Independence Rock, returned after a hiatus of nine years for a two-day rock festival. The spectacle saw a swarm of music enthusiasts, metal heads, and hardcore rock fans flock to catch their favorite bands at arguably one of the biggest festivals in Mumbai this year. Overlooking the sunset at Bayview Lawns in Mazgaon, Mumbai, from 5:00 PM onwards until late evening, blaring music kept fans glued to the performers on stage throughout each set.
Heavyweights in the Indian rock scene such as Pentagram, Parikrama, Indus Creed, Zero, and Avial performed on the stage, which bears the hallowed and iconic Independence Rock logo overhead. Bombay Bandook, the winners of Tomorrow’s headliners, opened the festival with a powerful set.
With music festivals returning without restrictions after a two-year break and festival season approaching, here are our five takeaways from this year’s Mahindra Independence Rock.
Mahindra Independence Rock, which traces its origin all the way back to 1986, ensured that the iconic rock bands that made this journey with them were showcased at the festival. The organizers regularly promoted throwback features and memorable I-Rock moments on social media throughout the festival’s buildup. The festival lineup was fanned across two days, with the I-Rock mainstays going strong alongside more recent groups like Bloodywood, Aswekeepsearching, Thaikkudam Bridge, The F16s, and Parvaaz. When the lineup was announced, the festival initially made headlines for not featuring enough new-age rock bands, but after attending, it’s safe to say that nostalgia worked, and we were all sucked in.
An Intimate Experience
Through live music performances, Independence Rock provided attendees with an intimate and connected experience, with rock music serving as the common ground. How often do you walk into a music festival and, despite being surrounded by hundreds of people, are directly addressed by the performer on stage, telling you how many previous editions you’ve attended? This is more common at smaller gigs, but it was also observed at the festival. At I-Rock 2022, you’d also be headbanging alongside the next performer or the next big act in Indian rock music. Bayview Lawns equipped two massive screens on which the live show was broadcast, allowing attendees to network, catch up, and simply enjoy the music.
I-Rock For Everyone
Looking around during the show, you’d notice children on the shoulders of their fathers, families of three generations, differently-abled people, and attendees in wheelchairs. Artists and their families joined the band stage for an epic performance of ‘Tomorrow’s Decided’ by Pentagram. Fans attired in signature black shirts of their favorite Indian and international rock bands erupted during the choruses, also assembling their own mosh pit. A sea of waving cell phone torches replaced traditional cigarette lighter flames.
Over the two days, music also alternated between Bloodywood’s heaving metal tunes, Parikrama’s hard rock, and Zero’s blues rock. Indian actor, singer and rock music enthusiast Farhan Akhtar also took to the stage to perform his rock single ‘Pain Or Pleasure,’ along with Parikrama, in what he described as a “dream come true.”
After the festival, attendees and musicians congregated on the lawns, reminiscing about what had transpired over the last two days, and singing the hooks of their favorite rock anthems!
Clean and Green
Skrap, an environmental sustainability enterprise that provides zero waste and sustainability services, had eco-warriors on hand. The team ensured that the two-day festival was green, clean, and zero-waste, wherever possible. Dry and wet waste segregation bins, biodegradable serving material, packaging leftover food for donations, and garbage sent for recycling, composting, or conversion into biogas were implemented at the festival. Skrap will also be present at the upcoming Magnetic Fields Festival 2022, which will take place in December at Alsiar Mahal in Rajasthan, India.
Bigger and Louder
Mahindra Independence Rock demonstrated that India’s indie and rock music scenes are still thriving in an era when electronic dance music dominates music festivals. Far from the yesteryear I-Rock at Rang Bhavan grounds, the festival was a true spectacle of India’s rock music scene, backed up with an amazing audio-visual experience, a variety of Indian music instruments, tributes and shoutouts, drum and guitar solos, on-point stagehands, on-ground crew, and engaging host Rohit ‘P-Man’ Pereira.
The festival can only get bigger and better, continuing to revive India’s live music scene. As the first of what will certainly be many more Mahindra Independence Rock festivals, next year will undoubtedly be something to look forward to.
We’ve got our black T-shirts ready, concluding with our takeaways with the lyrics of Indian rock band Zero’s track ‘PSP12‘.
“There were times when I had made it alright
There were places I had stayed in all night
There were reasons why I let all this time go by
Now I am waiting here tonight…
Standing by x 5″
Unofficial Independence Rock playlist on Spotify