This month,Himachal Pradesh will witness its biggest music and arts festival,the Manali Summer Sundowners
The temperature is rising as the sun,it seems,wants to make a new,scorching record. The only way to beat the heat is to retreat to cooler climes. While hill stations offer all the standard stuff hotels,picnics,a nice walk along a burbling brook,an old temple or a monastery on the trek route,Vivek Benipals holiday is off the beaten track. As founder-director of Soul Curators,a company interested in creating concept tourism,Delhi-based Benipal is putting the touches on the Manali Summer Sundowners,considered Himachal Pradeshs biggest music and arts festival,to be held this month in Manali.
A Sounds United Project,the Manali Summer Sundowners is a Green Festival promoting responsible travel and concert tourism in India. The two-day music and arts festival,scheduled on all weekends of June,is conceptualised and initiated by Soul Curators with the support of Himachal Tourism. Festival followers would know that Soul Curators is the organisation behind Woods Talk Festival at Rishikesh in November and the Gulmarg Winter Festival,which is held in March.
This year,Benipal is exploring Manali,which has been sold as a honeymoon destination for long. Our aim is to redefine Manali for tourists,to engage people with music,bring over aspiring bands,artistes,photographers,and benefit the community in turn, says the 32-year-old. A green drive has already been held as part of the festival to clean up Manali.
The festival comprises a mix of classical,sufi,jazz,blues,fusion,rock,pop,alternative and live jams,with performances by local artistes as well as bands such as Rock Veda,Highway 61,Rishi In,Ashwamedh,FBI – The Verbal,Prophtez,Hundred Octane,The Mangalz and Astitva at the Rambagh Amphitheater,The Mall Manali,every Friday and Saturday.
The festival will also include events such as Café Terra for green drives,Soul Film Festival,which comprises screenings of short films and documentaries ,Lens Creativity,a showcase of photography exhibitions,an art exhibition called United Artists of Bharat,and Sounds United Project,which will see independent music collaborations.
Biking enthusiasts can sign in for motorcycling tours called Riderthons while history buffs can undertake excursions to temples and Tibetan monasteries. Alternate lifestyle courses,too,is a part of the itinerary. The festival is positioned to attract the local and travelling community in HP, says Benipal,adding how the domestic travel industry has seen a 60 -70 per cent rise,and the youth is exploring India in new and exciting ways. Prices of tickets,bookings,hotels and activities work out to under Rs 10,000 per person for an entire weekend.
The dates for the festival are: 1-2 June,8-9 June,15-16 June,22-23 June,29-30 June.