Artists Performing in India for the First Time in 2023-24

The next few months in India are set to unleash an avalanche of music festivals and concerts, placing the limelight on a horde of established and upcoming Indian artists as well as a boatload of international acts. Ziro Music Festival, held in Arunachal Pradesh, gave us a peep of things to come, hosting the likes of Estonian nu-folk pair Puuluup, Australian punk rockers Mannequin Death Squad, Sweden troop The BooBooBama Orchestra, and Zangoma rock act Eliasse to name a few.

As we wait on further line-up announcements from the titans at Locals DISTRICT, Sunburn, Vh1 Supersonic, and Lollapalooza 2024, here is a quick look at some of the musicians to look out for who will be visiting India for the first time this year.

X:IN (K-Wave Festival)

On October 28, 2023, Jayamahal Palace in Bengaluru will host India’s first open-air festival dedicated to K-pop, the K-Wave Festival. K-pop acts, dance-offs, Korean food stalls, flea markets, and more are all lined up for this day-long experience of Korean culture aimed at India’s ever-growing K-pop fan following. South Korean singing sensation Kim Woojin headlines the show alongside a K-pop girl group, X:IN.

X:IN marks its festival debut in India with this performance. The multinational K-pop girl group comprises artists Aria, E-sha, Nizz, Nova, and Hannah. Interestingly, singer Aria’s roots go back to India, with her being born in Kerala and raised in Mumbai. The pack revealed they are performing in India in a recent interview segment on E NOW, while also speaking in Hindi.

Ali Gatie (SPXCEJXM)

Iraqi-Canadian singer and songwriter Ali Gatie brings his mega-hit single ‘It’s You’ to India at the debut edition of SPXCEJXM music festival in Mumbai and Bangalore. The pop and RnB artist arrives with a catalog of chart-topping singles on the back of his latest release, ‘Strangers Again.’ At the time of writing, Gatie’s only appearance in India is chalked in for SPXCEJXM, however, fans can be excited as the artists shared a post on social media on October 4, 2023, saying, “Album almost done .. maybe it’s time for a intimate TOUR to play this new music?”

Bastille (SPXCEJXM)

Fans of that melancholic, synth-pop, and electronica energy have been clamoring for British heavyweights Bastille to come to India for a while, and this year the foursome make their maiden appearance in the country at SPXCEJXM. Formed in 2010, the group went on to win the British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards in 2014. The band’s 2013 album ‘Bad Blood’ was a critical success, and they also released a ‘Bad Blood X’ 10th Anniversary Edition’ in July of this year. While the collaboration with electronic music producer Marshmello on the single ‘Happier’ sticks out, Bastille’s revamped rendition of Pompeii, ‘Pompeii MMXXIII,’ along with music German producer Hans Zimmer, is another feather on their cap.

Update: The maiden edition of SPXCEJXM is postponed until April 2024; there is no update about the artist line-up at the time of writing

Memba (NH7 Weekender)

Brooklyn-based production duo consisting of Will Curry and Ishaan Chaudhary will head to Bacardi NH7 Weekender as part of an all-star explosive line-up. The pair’s ties to India are well documented through their music videos of songs such as ‘For Aisha,’ ‘Schools Out,’ and ‘Jiyo,’ having met in the country during the archeological survey. Chaudhary paid tribute to his late sister, Aisha Chaudhary, on the hit single ‘For Aisha,’ which was also featured in the Bollywood film ‘The Sky is Pink,’ which was based on her life.

Memba’s entry into India comes on the back of band member Ishaan Chaudhary receiving his green card, which would allow him to re-enter the United States. Speaking about finally performing in India, they shared a post on social media, saying, “Almost died waiting for my green card but it’s finally here!! British desi boy allowed in the USA for realll // more importantly can finally leave!! First stop, as promised, is India bb!! @nh7dotin // New Delhi here we come India mob get crazy in comments one time it’s a biggg day.”

M.I.A. (NH7 Weekender)

British hip-hop, grime, and dance music force Mathangi Arulpragasam, best known as M.I.A., makes her bow on Indian soil at the fourteenth edition of Bacardi Nh7 Weekender in Pune. M.I.A. was announced as the headliner for the show to a spirited response and her set is slated to feature collaborations with local Indian artists too. M.I.A.’s ancestry traces back to Jaffna in Sri Lanka. The pop sensation received an MBE in 2020 for her services in music, which she dedicated to her mother.

M.I.A.’s connection to India echoes through her music, having lived there briefly. The music video for her single ‘Sunshowers‘ was shot in the country. She also worked with Indian composer A.R. Rehman on the song ‘O Saya,’ which was on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ Though this is her full festival debut, M.I.A. performed in India at the opening ceremony of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 2012.

Len Faki (Echoes of Earth)

In-demand artist techno goliath Levent Faki, best known as Len Faki, leaps on stage for this first show in India at the upcoming Echoes of Earth festival in December. In 2023 alone, the Turkish-German DJ and producer pumped up crowds at the Awakenings Summer Festival, Bónusz Festival in Hungary, Utopia Festival in France, and Glitch Festival in Malta so far. Faki also released his debut album ‘Fusion‘ in July of this year.

Burning Witches (Bangalore Open Air)

Burning Witches perform Dio’s Holy Diver

Armed with shrieking choruses, quick-fire rhythms, and roaring guitar riffs, the all-female Swiss/Dutch metal powerhouse Burning Witches is set to perform in India for the first time at Bangalore Open Air. The heavy metal/power metal band outfit has been active since 2015 and has released five studio albums, the most recent being ‘The Dark Tower,’ released in May 2023. Those looking to latch on to the Burning Witches wagon and catch them live should definitely give their songs ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Hexenhammer,’ ‘Dance With The Devi,’ ‘We Stand As One‘ and ‘The Witch of the North‘ a listen.

Bangalore Open Air, one of India’s biggest hard rock and metal festivals slotted in for February 2024, has already announced the likes of Watain, Decapitated, and Burning Witches as part of their roster. This is also Burning Witches’ first show in Asia.

Westlife (India Tour)

Boy bands and nostalgia pops are truly unrivaled this year. Organizers have already fleshed out a remarkable concert helmed by the Backstreet Boys, with Boyzone’s Ronan Keating’s performance at the Cherry Blossom Festival on the horizon. Riding this wave, the powers that be have sprung in Coast to Coast fame, Irish pop group Westlife!

The fivesome will embark on their debut tour of India, with cities Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi in their sights. Fans can look forward to singling along to their hit songs ‘My Love,’ ‘Queen Of My Heart,’ ‘World Of Our Own,’ ‘Starlight,’ and ‘Bop Bop Baby,’ in Mumbai on November 24, Bengaluru on November 25, and Delhi on November 26.

Hyping the show, the band posted on social media, “India! We are so excited to finally be bringing the Wild Dreams tour to Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi in November 2023.”

Forester (Palm Tree Festival)

India welcomes Los Angeles-based indie electronic duo David Parris and Xander Carlson, collaboratively known as Forester, at Kygo’s debut Palm Tree Festival this November. The pair stated it is a “super special show” as they are performing live for the first time in the country. Forester’s music traverses lush soundscapes, supplying an indie dance feel with their tracks ‘All I Need,’ ‘To Feel Alive,’ ‘Holding Back,’ ‘All My Days,’ ‘Spark’ and ‘The Flood’ gaining maximum streams on Spotify.

Parris and Carlson grew up close to each other, working day jobs and making music at night. Their Forester alias stems from the 211-mile John Muir trail called ‘Forester Pass’ where Carlson used to go hiking. Discussing their music with Equate Magazine, the pair shared, “We ultimately want to transport our listeners to a freeing space. We feel most at home and at peace in nature, but we can’t always be there, so we hope to bring some of that to our fans wherever they are. I guess our music could be thought of as an antidote to the hustle.”

Dr. Rubinstein (DGTL)

If you fancy a rave trip like no other with the dancefloor capturing the hottest beats, rip-roaring energy, acid jams, and growing basslines, then Dr. Rubinstein’s India debut is not to be missed! The Berlin-based techno artist darts to both legs of DGTL in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Marina Rubinstein, best known as Dr.Rubinstein, was actually born in Russia and grew up in Israel before making a name for herself in Germany. In an eye-opening interview segment with Playful Magazine & Podcast, Rubinstein revealed that she is autistic, does not like to be put on the spot with rabid fire questions, and also limits her interaction with people before a performance.

She went in depth with Resident Advisor regarding pesky behavior at a show while trying to create a connection with a crowd, saying, “If you write a little note to me on your phone and show it to me while I’m playing, that’s a nice interaction. But if you keep trying to get my attention and eventually ask if I have a boyfriend—that can be disturbing to me and have a negative impact on the whole vibe. Sometimes people don’t know where the boundary is.”

Honorary mentions:

Goo Goo Dolls (Bandland, Bengaluru)

Ezra Collective (NH7 Weekender)

Artists mentioned in this article: Forester | M.I.A | X:IN | Bastille | Ali Gatie | Dr. Rubinstein | Westlife | Burning Witches | Memba | Len Faki

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