Delhi Sultanate (centre) was among the 23 DJs at the Boxout Weekender
Last month, I left work earlier than usual on a Friday to dance my socks off. And before I left, I made a show of it, announcing to my colleagues what they were missing out on. I had signed up for a three-day dance and music festival called Boxout Weekender to dance to the beats of independent musicians in India and of course, unwind. For Rs 700 (early-bird discount), I had managed to get a pass for two nights and an entire day of music, good food and drinks. The Weekender was a celebration to mark two years of boxout.fm, an online community-run radio station that focuses on alternative music and culture in India.
My home for the weekend was Aurobindo Place Market in New Delhi, which houses contemporary and hip spots such as Auro Kitchen & Bar and Summer House Café. From seven in the evening to one in the morning, both these places were the venues for the Weekender, attracting young people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, both local and foreign. Auro and Summer House are both famous for their drinks, ambience, beautifully lit terraces and good, relaxed vibes. Even during the week, they are packed at night, as youngsters flock to these joints after work and sometimes to discuss work.
The Weekender featured 23 DJs, their performances spread over three days and split between these two venues. With an armband that allowed access to those who had paid for the ticket, one could hop from Summer House to Auro in less than a minute, thanks to their proximity. Club-hopping in Delhi had never been easier or safer before this. The schedule for the event was released early, helping music loyalists to chart out their timeline for the long nights beforehand because attending a gig at Auro would mean missing a gig at Summer House.
DJs such as Malfnktion, Adam Rahman, Suchi and Delhi Sultanate played a variety of non-conformist music, free of genre-related constraints and representative of a rich and diverse musical landscape. Boxout.fm claims to curate music — “from the rap music of the subcontinent’s contrasting gullies to the dynamic dance music that informs its growing club culture”. The combination of local artistes producing global music had people dancing without a care in the world. Artistes like Delhi Sultanate, whose real name is Taru Dalmia, also appealed for a politics of love through reggae.
Other than an annual celebration such as this Weekender, Boxout.fm organises weekly Boxout Wednesdays at Summer House Café. You can catch its 110th edition next Wednesday (May 8) featuring Daisho and MC Soopy any time after 8 pm. And if you’re in the mood for a lone-dance party at home, tune into boxout.fm, available over the internet, to listen to over 50 shows by more than 70 artistes. House, soul, hip-hop, dubstep, jazz and the like all make it to boxout.fm as the community thrives on emergent musical and cultural scenes. Through such initiatives, boxout.fm is intent on taking its music to clubs and cultural spaces around the country.