“15TH AUGUST – MORE THAN JUST INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!”
Those were the days my friend!
Come August and everybody and anybody who ever dreamt or fantasied about being a musician…….a rock musician, looked forward to this one mega event! August 15 – Independence Rock. India’s biggest and loudest Rock Music Festival, the brainchild of Mr. Farhad Wadia. The venue was Rang Bhavan – that iconic amphitheater, for many years, till restrictions turned it into a monumental disastrous relic!
Rang Bhavan put Bombay on the international music map. Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heap, Jethro Tull, and Ian Anderson (that one legged genius), Aqualung, Cross Eyed Mary, Locomotive Breath and then came the Police, mind blowing. There were many more, far and in between, but for us it was Independence Rock. Black Tees, the air, heavy with fragrances, that some were beginning to first inhale and be curious about. Just being there, I remember, now was a very lightheaded and happy feeling. Head banging was beginning to acquire a new meaning, and best of all we could use the “F” word with gay abandon. “Start the fucking music, start the fucking music” was the anthem!
As I browse through the official website, those names flash by…Brahma, Pentagram, Zero, Rock Machine, Parikrama, and so many many more, but it was our music and our home grown talent, and yes yours truly did play this festival with The Other People back in 2011 – a milestone in my journey. Practically every person or band that performed at Independence Rock, went on to bigger things.
The festival later shifted to the Chitrakoot grounds at Andheri, but it has never been the same. With the shift of venue something was missing, I think the very heart and soul that was once Independence Rock was ripped out. I don’t think it was held the last two years and I don’t know the reason, but it’s a shame and a pity, so many young musicians and new bands, all writing their own music, good music, and no platform to showcase their talent.
So all I can say is, thank you Farhad, and thank you Independence Rock. 27 years – that is practically a lifetime! Look out for more…..Until then.