ThrivingAt13: We bring you 13 festivals that showcase Bengaluru’s diverse communities

We list out 13 new and returning festivals from Bengaluru that are celebrated with zest and zeal... 
From Unboxing BLR Habba
From Unboxing BLR Habba

Festivals and fairs have a way of bringing people together, despite differences. In a sprawling IT-driven city like Bengaluru — cultural, literature and musical festivals pull crowds together and help artistic exchanges between artistes and the public. We list out 13 new and returning festivals from our city that are celebrated with zest and zeal...

Unboxing BLR Habba
Unboxing BLR Habba, is a ten-day annual festival that celebrates Bengaluru’s art, culture, cuisine and local artistes. The Bengaluru Habba 2023 focused on bridging the gap between old and new Bengaluru while highlighting the city’s cultural aspects. It celebrates unity and cultural diversity in the city. “There’s more to Bengaluru than just tech and pubs. This city has rich cultural offerings, both traditional and contemporary. The fest aims to be a gateway to the cultural underpinnings of the city that are lesser known,” says Malini Goyal, founder of Unboxing BLR Foundation.

Bangalore Literature Fest
A two-day literary festival, BLF brings together authors from around the country. It features a variety of presentations and readings by authors, alongside other events. The primary objective of the fest is to bring together literature lovers and promote writings of authors. “The curation is based on inputs from readers and publishers throughout the year. Books that stunned us, books that sold out, books that made us pause and think — that’s what we focus on,” says Shinie Antony, festival curator.

Bangalore Poetry Festival
Bangalore Poetry Festival brings together poets, musicians and lyricists. Subodh Sankar and Lakshmi Sankar, the founders of Atta Galatta — the bookstore and events space, say, “While poetry as a form of self-expression was gaining immense popularity and Indian poets and poetry were increasingly being recognised the world over, there were limited opportunities available for poets within the existing literary festival platforms and that’s why we began to curate BPF.”

Echoes of Earth
This green festival uses music as a platform to spread the larger message of sustainability. It celebrates music, art, culture, sustainability and conservation while promising an eclectic music experience for music enthusiasts. “We aim to rethink the use of our natural resources and to be mindful of the life that exists around us,” says festival director, Roshan Netalkar.

DGTL Festival
DGTL is an electronic music festival, a fusion of local and international talents, that showcases DJs and musicians from all over the world, exhibiting various music styles. It blends electronic music, sustainability and art into a mesmerising experience for music enthusiasts. “We pride ourselves on being true purveyors of electronic music. We aim to provide a platform for emerging talents, nurturing their growth and fostering long-lasting relationships with artistes right from the outset,” says Ellen Evers,
festival director, DGTL.

Attakkalari Biennial
Held in Bangalore once in two years since 2000, this biennial brings together artistes and art lovers. It is a platform that encourages new talents in the contemporary movement arts. Attakkalari Biennial is South Asia’s largest digital arts festival that also provides a stage for eminent dancers and choreographers. “The biennial is also a celebration of the courage and tenacity shown by ordinary people when faced with challenges, bringing hope when our patience, endurance and even human relationships, are tested,” says Jayachandran Palazhy, artistic director, Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts.

Bangalore International Short Film Festival 
BISFF is a short film festival that provides a platform for young and amateur filmmakers to present their short films and receive feedback from experts in the field. It showcases shorts from all across the world. It allows anybody above 18 years of age to present their short films (30-minute duration). It also presents panel discussions and masterclasses with leading thinkers and successful filmmakers. Nikhil Bharadwaj, festival coordinator says, “BISFF is the only Oscar-affiliated film festival in India. It is a platform that promotes young filmmakers.”

Gender Bender
A multidisciplinary festival, Gender Bender offers a variety of events that range from dance performances, live concerts, visual arts exhibitions, panel discussions, performances by musicians and workshops. It showcases new works of art that enable people to re-examine and understand ‘gender’ and its implication. Shiva Pathak, co-founder and artistic director says, “Gender Bender is a space for conversation, celebration and a platform where one can have difficult conversations around gender.”

Chitra Sante
Literally translating to ‘art market,’ Chitra Sante is an art fair that is held annually on the last Sunday of January. While it offers a platform for emerging and renowned artists, the fair also enables the public to peek into the world of art. Artists from across the country come together to showcase their art. Gurudas Shenoy, a Bengaluru-based renowned artist who showcases his works in the space often says, “Chitra Sante is a platform that exposes young and upcoming artists to numerous arts, artists and galleries, while giving them a space to exhibit their own art.”

Green Lit Festival
GLF aims to promote and celebrate green literature in India. The festival promotes reading, writing, teaching and publishing green literature to create environment consciousness among people. It offers a platform for the promotion of books, conversations and writings on environment, while helping people apprehend their relationship with the planet. Founder, Benedict Paramanand says, “with this festival, we want more people to read fundamental environmental books and provide a platform for environmental authors.”

Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival
Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival provides a platform for people to perform from all over the country. It is a space that is open to anyone who wants to perform, while bringing together different theatre groups. The festival also revolves around a particular theme, every year. Arundhati Nag, director, Ranga Shankara says, “Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival is a way of bringing to the city different theatre groups from across the country for a wholesome and diverse theatre experience.”

Gudiya Sambhrama
This unique thematic temple festival brings together artistes and scholars from across the country to share their art, ideas and knowledge of hari katha, theatre, music, dance, puppetry, legends, flower weaving, rangoli, temples, manuscripts and more. A platform for over 40 visual artists to exhibit their creations based on the year’s theme. “It is a festival that celebrates our ancient culture, arts, knowledge and brings clarity to many an unanswered question about temples and traditions, a step to redefining and bringing back the traditional role of temples in the community,” says Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar, founder of Gudiya Sambhrama.

Bangalore Queer Film Festival
BQFF is an annual festival of queer films from all over the world. The festival offers a platform for LGBTQIA+ concerns to be voiced out through film as a medium. The festival is a social space where people can interact, mingle and respond to films collectively together. “BQFF brings together people, to watch different films from across the world while breaking the idea of what it is to be gay or queer,” says Joshua Muyiwa, one of the organisers.

Related Stories

No stories found.