At Lollapalooza, Sting, Jonas Brothers, Halsey and OneRepublic bring forth music, charm, and nostalgia

Feb 7, 2024


As attendees made a beeline for the BUDx stage on Day 1 of Lollapalooza India, the unmistakable beats of ‘Gallan Goodiyaan’ from the film Dil Dhadakne Do filled the air. “Is this the Jonas Brothers warming up? Are they going to sing some lines for their mic check,” a few wondered. 

Of course, their connection to the country came up moments after they took the stage. Kevin Jonas cheekily introduced Nick Jonas as ‘Jiju’, even as the crowds chanted and called him the nation’s brother-in-law. “This is our first time performing in India together, and no, the sangeet performance doesn’t count,” Nick said, to raucous cheers from the audience. 

Jonas brothers

Jonas brothers

Over two days in Mumbai, Lollapalooza India brought together a line-up of artistes who constantly spoke about how happy they were to be performing in India. In its second edition, the multi-genre festival recorded a footfall of thousands of attendees. It was a musical experience where the audience discovered new sounds and beats and soaked in some nostalgia by revelling in many old favourites. 

Watch | Scenes from Lollapalooza India
| Video Credit:
S. Poorvaja

If watching the Jonas brothers perform ‘S.O.S’, ‘Year 3000’, ‘When you look me in the eyes’, and even a song from their 2008 musical film Camp Rock was a good throwback to the glorious days of Disney Channel for the millennials, multiple generations came together to revel in Sting’s magic as he closed the festival on Sunday night. Couples, groups of friends who travelled in from different states, and even larger families came together to watch the 72-year-old musician serenade them. They teared up, held each other, and swayed to the notes of ‘A Thousand Years’, ‘Desert Rose’, and ‘Every Breath You Take’. Sting’s last performance in Mumbai was in 1980, and he ended the wait of nearly four decades by taking the stage asking a starstruck audience “Khai Zala Mumbai ‘‘ in Marathi. 

Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara

Across four stages, Lollapalooza India hosted nearly 35 artistes over the weekend. Promising a festival experience, the sprawling grounds of Mahalaxmi Racecourse had been transformed with colourful large high-top tents where attendees could lounge around and catch a glimpse of the performances. The spaces between the four stages were dotted with carnival games, and numerous food trucks, in addition to long lines of food and beverage stalls. BookMyShow Live, the live entertainment experiential division of BookMyShow spearheaded Lollapalooza India along with global producers, Perry Farrell and C3 Presents.

Lauv

Lauv
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Mumbai might have been reporting chilly nights, but the festival began at 2pm on Saturday with the sun beating down on the grounds.

“I sincerely wish it would rain now, but we’ll make up for that,” said Ashwin Gopakumar, lead vocalist of When Chai Met Toast as the indie-folk alternative band took the stage and performed some of their breezy numbers which included the ‘Sushi song’, and the ‘Joy of Little Things’, which had the crowds chorusing along. Later that evening, even as the air remained muggy and a spectacular sunset was just beginning, American singer-songwriter Lauv sang his lilting ‘Paris in the rain’ against the backdrop of an LED screen projecting a stormy cloud with rain seemingly falling on the stage. The crowd joined in to sing the lines to ‘I like me better when I’m with you’, and Lauv was more than thrilled. Crooning ‘Tattoo’, the singer even got off the stage to greet his fans at the barricade and sign autographs. 

Elsewhere at the festival, rock music continued to reign. While Chennai’s very own Skrat kickstarted the proceedings with a high energy set, as did jazz-rock quartet Jatayu, UK-based rock-duo Royal Blood’s music and guitar solos in particular had the crowds clapping along.

If the crowds were mesmerised by Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara’s effortless singing and traditional beats, The Raghu Dixit Project put up a visual spectacle- with dancers and  costumed performers on stilts making the stage come alive to evocative music. 

The Raghu Dixit Project

The Raghu Dixit Project
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Ranking high among the best performances of the day, American singer-songwriter Halsey apologised more than once onstage for having not come to India before through her decade-long career. “India has the second highest number of listeners of my music,” she said. Dressed in a brightly patterned skirt and crop-top with her hair in wild curls, the singer dominated the stage in a way that only she could – moving from one end to the other, all the while singing, dancing and sending the crowds into a frenzy as they sang along to ‘Ghost’, ‘Bad at Love’, and ‘Closer’. 

The Perry’s stage at Lollapalooza India

The Perry’s stage at Lollapalooza India

On the second day, the brutal heat once again did little to dampen the spirits of the attendees, many of whom began to queue up from as early as 1pm for a good view of the Indie-rock Korean band The Rose, whose concert was a good two hours away. Sharing the story of how they met busking on the streets of Seoul many years ago, the four-member band performed their hearts out – with a set list that included ‘Sorry’, ‘Red’, ‘You’re Beautiful’, and ‘Back to Me’. Many attendees quickly landed up at the Nexa Stage soon after to catch Korean-American singer Eric Nam, as he brought alive pop music in all its fun, upbeat glory. “My name is Eric, Nam- toh suna hi hoga,” he said, introducing himself onstage. 

After having performed a song with Lauv the previous day, singer Armaan Malik was once again welcomed with loud cheers here as he and Eric sang their song ‘Echo’ together. Surprise collaborations onstage like these made for much excitement through the festival. On day 1, the crowds were thrilled when rapper King joined Nick Jonas onstage to sing their song ‘Maan Meri Jaan’. 

One Republic

One Republic

There was no dearth of different genres or styles of music to choose from on the second day of the festival. After listening to rock band Parvaaz, many attendees made a beeline to see sitarist Anoushka Shankar at the expansive Budx stage, and also caught performances by American rapper JPEGMAFIA, English alternative rock band Keane, and British electronic music project Jungle. 

As OneRepublic took over the Walkers & Co stage on Sunday evening, frontman Ryan Tedder reminisced their journey over the last many years, and smiled down at the crowds screaming along to ‘Counting Stars’ and ‘If I lose Myself ‘. People danced and screamed, and sang along to each line of the group’s biggest hits over the years, even as other performers including Eric Nam, Woosung and Dojoon from The Rose, and Kevin Jonas joined in. 

Soon followed by Sting’s performance, these musicians and many others over the weekend perhaps best summed up what made the second edition of Lollapalooza tick– how its best performers drummed up memories and nostalgia in a way that only music can. 

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