Bangalore, June 4 (IANS): India’s only dedicated open air heavy metal music festival, the Bangalore Open Air (BOA), is back in its heaviest and loudest avatar yet. Started in 2012, the festival, which aims to bring the best heavy metal artists from the world to India, will feature 32 bands over a period of seven days in Bangalore this year.
The build-up to BOA 2015, which began on May 31, will end on Friday and the final leg of the event which concludes on Saturday will feature globally acclaimed heavy metal bands Napalm Death (Britain), Inquisition (US) and Belphegor (Austria) as the headliners, along with renowned Indian acts like Escher’s Knot and Undying Inc among others.
Inspired by Germany’s Wacken Open Air festival, one of the world’s biggest heavy metal festivals, BOA was created to promote heavy metal music in India, says organiser Salman U. Syed of artist management company Infinite Dreams.
“Bangalore Open Air was an idea which was born in Wacken, Germany. I went there in 2010 and was surprised to see the magnitude of the festival. I decided India needs a festival like this. I got in touch with the promoters at Wacken and requested the supporters to build a festival in India,” Syed told.
With the event, Syed envisions a platform for international heavy metal bands to perform in India and give Indian fans the chance to witness them perform in their own country.
“It’s very difficult and expensive for people to travel to Europe for all these bands, so what we are doing is that we are getting these bands to India so that it’s much easier for the fans,” he said.
In a country where Hindi film and pop music enjoys massive popularity, promoting a niche genre like heavy metal requires a concentrated effort. And BOA has been doing just that since its inception.
“We are trying to build a scene here, a community for metalheads in India,” Syed said.
Syed, whose company Infinite Dreams curates the BOA every year, says that the subsequent editions of the festival will span across seven days, just like this year.
“The whole idea of doing this is that in future people know that there is one week of metal happening in Bangalore. It’s going to be a seven-day festival from now on,” he said.
“We are targeting the age group of 18-30 years, college-goers and professionals. This year, we are expecting 3,000 people.”
Over the last decade, heavy metal has slowly but gradually developed an impressive following in India. The historic 2007 Iron Maiden concert, which saw over 30,000 headbangers from India and abroad in attendance, laid the foundation of a heavy metal movement in the country. Festivals like the BOA have only helped in nurturing the burgeoning metal movement in India.
Syed also organises the Wacken Metal Battle in India, where the best metal bands from the country participate to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the Wacken Open Air in Germany.
Asked about the future of BOA, Syed says that he plans to expand the Wacken Metal Battle and take the competition to open air venues.
“My whole idea is to the make the Wacken Metal Battle as the BOA. We have been doing it in clubs; so the idea is to take it out of the pubs, make it open air and have international headliners”, he asserted.