Three of India’s underground heavyweights make the cut for this year’s Outlook Festival
“I’m not sure about the electronic scene but it’s a big step for the Indian dub/ bass heavy scene,” chimes Mr. Herbalist, one third of the Delhi-based Reggae Sound system, Reggae Rajahs. His excitement is calculated, as the trio prepare for their most prophetic month yet – a career defining spot at Outlook festival 2012.
For its fifth year and counting, the Outlook Festival returns to take siege of the breath-taking Fort Punta Christ, Croatia. The site remains one of the most unique festival spots in Europe, surrounded by crystal clear Adriatic waters, combining sun-soaked beach parties by day with neon-lit rave scorchers by night.
But under the throng of adulation associated with a typical European festival pulsates the burgeoning sound of the underground – a massive throwback to Bass Music and Sound System Culture the world over. This year Reggae Rajahs and two other Sound Systems will be uprooted from the Indian underground, amidst global titans like Digital Mystikz, Loefah, Skream, Pearson Sound, Kode9, Joker, Hatcha ..
“..Max Romeo and Lee “Scratch” Perry,” continues Herbalist. “For us, its a massive honour to play on the same bill as these legends. As a reggae soundsystem, we are featuring at the world’s premier festival for soundsystems – its huge!”
The two other collectives – Bay Beat Collective (Mumbai) and BASSFoundation (Delhi) – are widely influential for raising bass movements in their respective cities, and giving the genre the traction it deserves. The shift to European shores is a true test for their global viability, if not a mid-year refresher before the entertainment season comes full swing.
“To build up to the main event we’re embarking on a massive EU/UK tour leading up to the festival,” comments Sohail Arora from Bay Beat Collective.
While Sohail intends the tour to be some sort of victory run, we sense weak nerves in preparation. Is the Indian underground capable of holding the fort?
His partner in sound Kris Correya dissects the point immediately – “Music fans thrive at these festivals & in the case of Outlook it’s a whole lot more genre specific with fans of bass music. We know that we are going to have a great time as we play what we love. Being on the same bill as artists we have looked up to is thrilling but playing what we love, in varied situations is something we’ve done regularly - the game plan just comes naturally now.”
“It’s our first time at a festival of this size, so we’re definitely nerves about it,” says Mr. Herbalist returning Chris’ point. “ But I’m confident that once we get up on stage that will transform into pure adrenaline. We’re determined to show the world that there is a reggae scene in India and that we have our own unique way of entertaining people.”
“By having three Indian soundsystems at Outlook, it means that India will now start getting recognition as a growing market for reggae/ dub/ bass heavy music. We are all putting India on the map!”
The Outlook Festival 2012 takes places between 30 August – 3 September at the festival’s trademark venue, the grounds of abandoned Fort Punta Christo, Kroatia.
Picture above by Graham Turner