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Ready to rock
Canadian guitarist Rachelle van Zanten with her group

Let the beer flow and the music roll as the fourth installment of the Kingfisher Pubrockfest organised by the Rock Street Journal gets ready to take the country by storm. The festival gives established names a chance to showcase their original music alongside new talent in the genre, that includes rock with a bit of jazz, blues and metal also thrown in.

Pubrockfest started in 2004 with a humble beginning of four gigs and 12 bands in Delhi. From there, it has expanded into its present avatar which covers 20 cities with over 60 gigs and about 80 bands performing in all.

“When we had started out, there was no platform apart from GIR where bands could come together and perform,” said Siddhartha Menon, manager ad sales, Rock Street Journal. “We wanted to provide the bands with a more intimate setting and popularise the concept of live music in pubs,” he continued.

Even the planning of venues or pubs is very meticulous as bands are chosen for particular clubs/pubs based on the crowd profile and tastes they cater to. “We would have a metal band perform at a pub like Mezz in Delhi and a blues or electronica group at a place like Tabula Rasa as these are pubs that promote and play this kind of niche music,” said Menon.

Online communities and an active RSJ forum creates awareness and there are groups on networking sites like Orkut and Facebook among others which ensure that plenty of youngsters turn up at the shows. Apart from this, the festivals balance local acts with visiting bands keeping the city-based fan following for particular groups in mind. Also, entries are invited for fresh bands to open for the more established names giving them a chance to be heard.

The festival, which kicked off on May 10 with a performance by the blues band Soulmate at Pune, will feature top national acts like Them Clones, metal band Demonic Resurrection, singer-songwriter Shruti Hassan as well as international artistes like the Canadian guitarist Rachelle van Zanten with her group as well as Australian act Aurora Jane and Massive Change with their unique rootsy folk rock sound. “Ultimately the idea behind this festival is to promote rock in every form,” concludes Menon.

Hip Pocket, newcomers FLI, Cassini’s Division and Saturday Night Blues are among the Calcutta bands scheduled to perform at the festival which will be held at Someplace Else from May 30 onwards.

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