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Music in the desert

The latest multi-genre music and arts festival will take place at luxury palace hotel in Rajasthan this weekend

The luxury heritage hotel Alsisar Mahal<br />
The luxury heritage hotel Alsisar Mahal

Round-the-clock music performances, carnival-like floating stages, secret parties, costume balls, treasure hunts, local food and drink stalls—and only 500 tickets on sale—are some of the reasons to ditch the beach-side music festivals and head to the desert for the Magnetic Fields Festival in Rajasthan this weekend.

Originally planned as a warehouse music festival on the outskirts of Delhi, the three-day festival, starting Friday, will take place at the luxury heritage hotel Alsisar Mahal in Jhunjhunu district. The two stages at the venue will host headliners like Berlin-based Robot Koch of the bass-heavy electronica trio Jahcoozi, London-based dubstep producer V.I.V.E.K and Charanjit Singh, the octogenarian Hindi film composer turned dance music producer who is often credited as the accidental pioneer of acid house. But festival co-organizer Munbir Chawla of Delhi-based online music magazine says even smaller spaces on the 17th century palace grounds will be used for secret sets and parties.

The line-up, which has a slight electronic and dance-music bent, also features UK-based bass collective Engine-Earz Experiment featuring Orifice Vulgatron of hip hop and dubstep group Foreign Beggars, electronic dance acts Shaa’ir + Func, Sandunes and Bay Beat Collective from Mumbai, Midival Punditz, BLOT and Peter Cat Recording Co. from Delhi, and Sulk Station and The Bicycle Days from Bangalore.

Apart from, the sponsor-free event also has the backing of fashion and design label 11.11 by CellDSGN, design and production firm THOT and Mumbai-based art and design collective WeThePpl, behind the super-fun, underground party series Grime Riot Disco (GRD).

The festival will boast of its own currency instead of plastic and paper coupons, morning yoga sessions on the palace rooftop and a mela-like food bazaar with Rajasthani thalis featuring local specialities like laal maas and drink stalls with fresh fruit juices, smoothies and mixed drinks like Bloody Mary and sangria. The organizers are also expecting festival-goers to play dress up on all three days for surprise costume balls and bonfires.

“The USP of our festival is that we are small and intimate," says Chawla. “You all enjoy the same music together, eat together and even the secret sets and parties will be unannounced so people will have to find them through word of mouth. This isn’t a festival venue where you come and get lost in the big crowds—it’s a festival where you get to know everyone by the end of it."

Magnetic Fields Festival, 13-15 December, at Alsisar Mahal, Alsisar village, Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan. Tickets, 4,000 for a three-day pass, and accommodation at the venue, 14,500-17,500 per person for three days or 4,750 to pitch your own tent, available on For details, visit

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