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Amit Trivedi

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Fests seem to be a significant part of the whole college experience. And these fests are incomplete without a thrilling concert on stage. From sports fields to tour buses, several independent, signed, and Bollywood artists have toured the various colleges of India for their fests.

Here we count down five significant artists who are a popular sight at many a college concert. The following musicians and singers are featured in here in no particular order, just on the basis of genres and the space they have among the college-going youth. Many college fests take place over the course of two or three nights. The usual pattern is a rock band or a DJ making people jump for the early days, while playback singers from the film industry take over the final days.

  1. Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Gurgaon-born DJ Zaeden is a popular pick of the new age electronic music producers. Zaeden has struck a chord with the youth, having performed at many colleges of University of Delhi (DU) and other technological institutes. Zaeden’s set usually features his originals like ‘Never Let You Go’, along with dance covers of Coldplay and Maroon 5 songs.

But if you want to hear remixes of mainstream film music, then DJ Chetas and NYK to a lesser extent could be your choice. Chetas’ rise is remarkable as his work might seem pretty mediocre in the face of new-age DJs like Ritviz and Mojo Jojo. Still, Chetas knows how to market himself. His career took off with making themed mashups of Bollywood songs that were featured on the 9X TV network; soon his mashups and remixes found their way in the fest circuit increasing his brand name.

Still, the most original music producer in this scene is Nucleya. With hardly any remixes, he cuts straight to the chase whipping out his classic trance tracks like ‘Bass Rani’ and ‘Laung Gavacha’. Sometimes, if colleges have enough funds, they can even call up foreign DJs to add to the star value. For instance, Quintino in his Indian tour leg even managed to perform his sets at IIT Kanpur and BITS Goa last year. In Delhi’s Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) it was rumoured that this year, the mask-wearing DJ Marshmello or Alan Walker (another DJ who likes covering his face) would headline their fest. But these were just rumours, as in the end, it was DJ Chetas who performed.

  1. Acoustic/ Rock

When it comes to light acoustic vibes, Prateek Kuhad is the top pick. Featuring a three-piece band, he smoothly sings and plays his guitar while the audiences just swoon. A critically acclaimed songwriter, his track list has both English and Hindi tunes, usually with slow instruments and themes of love and life. With most of his followers being millennials, it’s only apt for the ‘Cold Mess’ singer to be a sensation at college fests.

But when it comes to rock, there’s an even bigger force to be reckoned with—a band called The Local Train. The rock band is a recent phenomenon that started out with their first record ‘Aalas ka Ped’, an instant hit amongst a modest fanbase. Two albums old, they are touring all over the country performing in nearly every Hard Rock Café, and nearly every college fest. Churning out songs in a mix of Hindi and Urdu, their tracks like ‘Khudi’ and ‘Aaoge Tum Kabhi’ deal with various themes like following your dreams and waiting for a lover; stuff which appeals to the dreamy college kid. It’s safe to say that The Local Train is not so ‘local’ anymore!

  1. Film music

This is where the fest gets fully mainstream. Bollywood artists usually have many singles from film’s soundtracks, which make for popular music content for the fest audiences. Duos like Vishal-Shekhar and Saleem-Sulaiman are big hits in this regard.

Then there are popular Punjabi artists too in fest line-ups, like Diljit Dosanjh and Guru Randhawa. They sing originals as well as songs featured in films. While the background musicians manage the performance, and the singers’ bravado gets the crowds jumping, some do not consider them as true performers. A case in point is Diljit’s concert at Rendezvous (the annual fest of IIT Delhi), where many fans noted how the singer was lip-syncing for most of his songs.

Then there are a few other artists who manage to perform a varied set of both film and independent content. Farhan Akhtar assisted by his band Farhan Live! starts off his fest shows with songs from his popular films, Rock On and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara; adding in ballads from albums of his own. Assamese Bollywood singer Papon (who recently performed at Hindu College on top of a Red Bull tour bus) also manages to play a few non-film tunes. Amit Trivedi has also sung his MTV Coke Studio songs for many a college fest. On a side note, Amit Trivedi’s concerts are truly a team effort. He not only introduces all his background singers and musicians to the audience but sometimes gives them the stage to perform their exclusive pieces.

Featured Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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