Entertainment, experience, environment—Echoes of Earth music festival kicks off Bengaluru edition
In this photo essay, we showcase some of the outstanding art installations and performances from India’s “greenest” music festival, along with founder insights on music for impact.
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 730 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Billed as India’s greenest music festival, the sixth edition of Echoes of the Earth kicked off in Bengaluru this weekend with an outstanding lineup of Indian and international artists. The venue also includes a spectacular array of art installations on the festival’s environmental conservation theme, ‘Ensemble of the Wild'.
There are photographs and multimedia works on the interconnectedness of India's biodiversity hotspot, the Western Ghats. The festival also includes art and educational workshops on environmental conservation.
The installation artists, some of whose works are featured in this photo essay, include Haribabu Natesan and Siddharth Karawal. In addition to the jaw-dropping stage designs, the festival showcases how it is moving towards a carbon-neutral, zero-waste event.
The artist lineup caters to audiences of all ages, with genres ranging from electronica and hip-hop to heavy metal and world music. Featured artists this weekend include three-time Grammy Award winner Tinariwen (Mali), as well as Sid Sriram (US), Mezerg (France), Parra for Cuva (Germany), Mansur Brown (UK), 8 Kays (Ukraine), and Giant Swan (UK).
In between the four stages are spaces such as Kids Zone and Pet Zone, flea markets, cafés, and merchandise stalls. While the overall experience is world-class, some features which could do with considerable improvement are the payment arrangements and traffic routing at the end of the festival.
Held in the forests and grassy grounds of the Embassy International Riding School, the festival has hosted over 300 artists over the past editions. “Every year, we pick a theme that is most relevant to the environment,” festival founder and director Roshan Netalkar tells YourStory.
Past themes included ‘Wonders of the Deep’ and ‘Circle of Life’. “The theme of ‘Western Ghats’ serves as the perfect backdrop for our celebration of nature this year,” he adds.
“Through music and art, we aim to visually depict the delicate balance between different species in our backyard and even turning junk into art,” Netalkar says. As a build-up to the festival, storytelling workshops and local panel discussions were held across Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
The festival in Bengaluru drew a crowd of about 16,000 people last year. “This weekend, we anticipate an even greater turnout given our hyperlocal theme and our lineup. It’s our best lineup yet,” Ketalkar enthuses.
The Tusker Stage, designed by Siddharth Karawal, is a tribute to the elephant Bhogeshwar, also known as Mr Kabini. He reportedly had the longest tusks in Asia and passed away in 2022.
Other installations include Chameleon Zelanicus (by Alt Native Artist Collective) and Southern Birdwing Butterfly (by Bheemstyx). The festival has won 25 awards over the years for excellence in categories like sustainability, design, and production management.
“We also conducted e-waste collection drives at various bars, BIAL, and CKP College. We've organised bird nest-making workshops and nature trails with local communities,” Ketalkar adds.
Throughout the year, the festival team maintains an active online presence, sharing educational content and updates on its conservation initiatives.
He also offers tips for musicians and audiences on environmental sustainability. “Collaborating with festivals that prioritise environmental awareness is an impactful way for artists to align their sustainability initiative,” he advises.
“With our sustainable initiatives and conversations at the festival, we hope it inspires our audience to cause a shift in mindset and adopt responsible choices,” Ketalkar signs off.
Now what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and harness your creative side for a better world?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the festival.)
Edited by Kanishk Singh