At the time of writing this, the city’s very own Island Grounds, is preparing for a big weekend ahead with everything from makeshift stalls to a performance stage.
While Chennai’s love for music is old news, the city is well on its way to emerging as a food destination as well. The Hindu Food and Music Festival is an attempt to tap into both these aspects. The weekend affair, spread over two days, will bring participants pieces of the city’s culinary landscape, as well as feature independent music acts lighting up the stage: think Agam’s classic Carnatic fusion numbers and Arivu’s fiery rap compositions, apart from other acts across genres.
The food component will see over 35 stalls that have offerings that Chennai is especially famous for.
Though the idea was to bring hyperlocal Chennai outlets to the fore, in an attempt to bring about balance, premium brands are also now in the line-up.
Shabnam Kamil, curator of the food festival says, “Chennai is a melting pot of cultures and tastes. We wanted to offer everyone something. Which is why I thought the balance was important.” Some of the local outlets are quintessentially Chennai: flavoured milk from Kunhiraman, parottas and dosas from Khaja Bai, Vaniyambadi-style chicken biryani from Ahmedia, Mannady kanji and samosas to name a few. The curation also keeps people’s specific preferences in mind. Vegan burrito bowls and vegan ice candy will be on offer.
“We even have a Madurai caterer from Ghar Sujan Food Court coming with butter bun, paruthi paal and so on specifically for the festival,” adds Shabnam. Some of the other familiar names include Beachville Coffee, Batter, Cafe Pramadham, Little Soi, Ciclo Cafe, KGN Arifa, Mex It Up, and Ricky’s Cookies.
The musical acts will showcase a mix of homegrown artistes and independent bands that span genres and styles. Aditya Kashyap, bassist and backing vocalist of the band Agam says, “The audience can definitely expect a lot of improvisation on our part. The band is built on the idea of demystifying the myth that Carnatic music is complex and takes years to understand. From show to show, we are on this journey to simplify Carnatic music and make it accessible to all.”
The band encourages the audience to sing along to understand how Carnatic music can be appreciated. “A song of ours that has worked really well in Chennai is ‘Koothu over Coffee’. I think this is a perfect setting for that song to be performed differently,” adds Aditya. The band will perform on the first day (September 9) along with Tuning Folk, Team Dynamix, and singer and rapper Arivu. On the second day (September 10), the music stage will see names synonymous with the burgeoning independent music scene in the city like hip hop artistes Navz47, Iykki Berry, Mapulz Rac and Milton dance crew. The final act will be by IndoSoul. A Gaana act by Gaana Balachandar, Gaana Vinoth and Gaana Vimala is also in the line-up along with a Carnatic performance by Srivathsan Santhanam.
The Hindu Food and Music Festival will be held on September 9 and 10, from 4pm to 11pm at Island Grounds. Entry is free. Registration is mandatory and can be done at madeofchennai.thehindu.com