Lollapalooza India And Mumbai Core
Lollapalooza India And Mumbai Core

The international festival embodies the city’s spirit more than you’d think 

There's something quintessentially Mumbai about Lollapalooza India. Beneath the A-List lineup and equally A-List celebrities who attend it, the festival has somehow become an annual cultural meet-up of who’s who, with the backdrop of great music, and “you had to be there” kind of moments—an essence of the city’s social scene in a way. Courtesy of Book My Show, the festival's Indian partner, I had front-row seats to this exclusively adrenaline-pumping weekend. 


Raghu Dixit Project performing at Lollapalooza India 2024 co produced and promoted by BookMyShow Live.jpg


The Setup 

The quite literal embodiment of this is the Mahalaxmi Race Course venue, which also hosted the festival’s inaugural year in 2023. Covering 55 acres, all four stages are conveniently positioned opposite each other, allowing for efficient movement to keep up with the festival's pace—essential in Mumbai, where time is money. In case you do find yourself exhausted, the food court and cool-down spot can be found in the middle, again not difficult to spot. The festival, much like the city, keeps you on your toes. Nevertheless, there are provisions, such as multiple medical tents and on-ground staff, readily visible in case things get a bit too sweaty. I did witness the promptness of the support staff in action when a festival attendee was carried out to the medical tent. 


Fatoumata Diawara performing at Lollapalooza India 2024 co produced and promoted by BookMyShow Live .jpg


Despite gates opening in the middle of the afternoon, there's minimal shade to escape the intense Mumbai sun. A cause for concern, considering the festival’s lineup, which put Anoushka Shankar’s and Dualist Inquiry's sets right in the middle of the day. Yet still, families were seen vibing to the nine-time Grammy Awards nominee’s magnetic Sitar performance. Similarly, despite the heat, quite a few head-nods and air humping were also witnessed, both by the young and the old, during Sahej Bakshi's set. 


The Vibe 


Being on your toes, both in the city and at the festival, does have its unique advantages. You get to experience the immediate change in vibes within footsteps. Day One served as an appetizer of this when a swarm of the crowd, mostly Gen-Z teenagers, rushed to the Halsey stage, barely leaving any room for casuals like me. But it wasn’t just the younger folks who seemed topped up on unending energy. Minutes before The Jonas Brothers’ sets, the same Gen-Z teenagers were then seen rushing along with millennials, whose “jiju, juju” chanting played a rather wholesome backdrop to Nick Jonas performing with King for ‘Maan Meri Jaan’. 


Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers performing at Lollapalooza India 2024 co produced and promoted by BookMyShow Live.jpg


On the second day, though, I fell victim to this, shedding an (internal) tear to Keane’s 'Somewhere Only We Know', minutes before bumping elbows with similarly emotionally confused men to get to the front of the One Republic set. 

Amidst all the rushing, the heart of the city and the festival lies in quieter, more subtle moments. You might bump into long-lost friends you haven't seen in years. For instance, a fellow festival attendee, Sneha, a 33-year-old Medical Professional from Mumbai, bumped into her university friends after more than a decade, who then went on to spend the evening together, making plans to catch up for brunch. On the flip side, it's also a great place to avoid people. Later, through social media, I discovered that two of my exes and another new connection had attended the festival—an awkward situation if the location and occasion were incorrect. 




But every great act deserves a memorable ending. For Lollapalooza 2024, it was the hour-and-a-half, 16-song set by Sting, the 72-year-old Classic Rock icon, who opened his performance with "Kasa kay, Mumbai?" in rather impressive Marathi. What unfolded later almost felt like a microcosm of the city's soul. Both young and old, celebrities, and commoners came together to experience a masterclass, with the Grammy Awards-winning singer delivering hits from "Every Breath You Take" to "Desert Rose," culminating in the crescendo of Roxanne. 


The End? 

Fans playing All The Right Moves at the BookMyShow's Interactive stall.jpg


But what's truly and fascinatingly annoying is the city's and its inhabitants' sheer audacity in moving on with pace. A Sting performance in India a decade ago would have remained a talking point for years. Yet, plans were heard of the next Ed Sheeran concert or the next G-Eazy one. It now somehow feels like the music culture in India has not only leapt light years but is also on the precipice of being the next hot spot of the world. The question then remains: who's Lollapalooza India going to bring next to face the unfazed? 

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