Snow, outages play spoilsport at Gulmarg music fest

Gulmarg: Pine trees against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains would have been the dream setting for the ongoing Gulmarg Winter Festival but unexpected snowfall and power outages dampened the spirits of music aficionados and tossed the schedule upside down.

Saturday`s performances got delayed for hours, performers from outstation didn`t turn up and the musicians found it difficult to play their instruments due to the extreme cold.

"When we had planned the festival, we specially asked the met department about the weather conditions and they told us that it would be bright and sunny with no snowfall, but we don`t have any control on the weather as a result we have shifted the setup into a hotel," said Aditya Shinde of fest organiser Synapses Adventure.

"There are challenges involved and we learn from them. Next time there will be a better set up," he added.

The festival started Friday and the second day began with a clear morning, but by noon the snow started falling. If that was not enough, frequent electricity cut-offs worsened the situation.

The performances were scheduled to start at 11.30 in the morning, but thanks to the changed weather, it got delayed by almost nine hours. Post snowfall, the entire set had to be shifted indoors at the Hotel Alpine Ridge and it took hours. The performances started around 8 p.m. and went on till the wee hours.

"Though witnessing the snowfall is fun, it was disappointing that the event got delayed for so long. But all the wait was worth after we moved indoors because it was warm inside and we could enjoy it more in a closed environment," said Sushmita Nag, one of the guests from Delhi.

Another music enthusiast, Neha Verma, said: "The snowy backdrop of the festival was to die for, something which one would rarely have imagined, but sadly snowfall spoilt it."

Eighteen bands are participating in the festival and Saturday night saw performances by Space, Half Step Down, Chill Om Records, Bombay Bassement and Avi & Uprising.

The snowfall and all the dilly dallying didn`t defuse the enthusiasm of the bands. The set up inside the hotel was more like like a house party - music consoles were placed on the drums. The bands became more interactive with the audience, something that was missing in the outdoor set up. Once the musicians hit the chords, it was magical and the guests just soaked themselves in melodious music and swayed to their tunes. Out of the five bands, Space and Chill Om records stole the show with their fusion music, a blend of Indian folk and western music.

Due to chilly weather conditions some bands failed to perform Friday, but they have been accommodated on the final day of the festival.

"We have cut short the performances to half an hour for each band and ensure that every band we have flown here get there space," Vivek, of Soul Curators, who have co-organised the festival added.


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