Alboe by the Beach, Kerala’s newest music festival features several Bengaluru bands

Bengaluru-based bands performing at the music festival include Pineapple Express and Space Is All We Have
In frame: Varkala Beach
In frame: Varkala Beach

Beaches and music festivals pretty much go hand-in-hand. An open space, lots of room for you to shuffle, the cool breeze and the never-ending sound of the waves crashing — pretty much in sync with the music. You will get to experience all of this and more at Alboe by the Beach, the latest addition to the long list of music festivals in India. Taking place on the seafront in Varkala, considered one of the best in Kerala, the three-day music festival is perfect for music fans, not just in Kerala but across the country, considering the amazing artiste line-up and the variety of music genres represented. Some of the artistes performing at the festival include well-known names like Brodha V, Arivu, The F16s, HanuMankind and Taba Chake along with local stars like Baby Jean, MC Couper and Jeremiah De Rozario. Also look forward to performances by Bengaluru-based based bands like Pineapple Express and Space Is All We Have. We get up close with the founder of the festival and three artistes who will be taking to the stage, to know everything you need to know about the festival!

Vishnu Shyamaprasad (founder, Alboe by the Beach)

How did the idea of the festival begin and why was Varkala chosen as the location?
During film production for my feature film Thrishanku, which made its Netflix debut 7 months ago, the film’s music director Jay Unnithan and I discovered a myriad of young emerging talents in the Indian music industry and that’s when the idea for Alboe by the Beach was born. The music festival is Lacuna Pictures’ debut open-air music festival happening on the golden beaches of Varkala. It is being organised by our in-house teams and after six months of rigorous planning and execution, we are proud to present the most uniquely curated beach festival in southern India.

How was the artiste line-up decided for the festival?
There are 20 artistes playing over three days of the festival to provide a diverse sonic experience. The choice of the artiste line-up was primarily influenced by the quality of their music and our sheer love for them. 50 percent of the lineup consists of young emerging talents that we think have immense potential and the other half of the line-up consists of known names from the Indian music scene. Our artiste selection team consists of music industry professionals Sange Wangchuck and Akash Agarwal from Bengaluru and is overseen by me. One of the highlights of the festival is definitely the Pineapple Express X Grand Symphony featuring The Bangalore Strings & Brass Ensemble, which is a 16-piece symphony orchestra featuring some of the best instrumentalists from across the country. The band is rearranging 10 of their original songs along with the ensemble for a unique 70-minute set.

What sets this festival apart?
Alboe by the Beach is a celebration of India’s emerging young talent in music, art and culture — by the beach. It’s also the first festival of its kind in Kerala. Alongside the music offerings, we have lined up an exciting array of activities for attendees like jet ski rides, skimboarding, lots of amazing Instagram-friendly, larger-than life installations by our festival design partner Architainment alongside a curated flea market that houses over 50 brands — and how can we forget food, when we are in Kerala. We are highlighting local delicacies from the south by chef Suresh Pillai – who will serve a curated menu at the festival. We also announced an afterparty for attendees which will include other activities like movie screenings, beach activities and the flea market, but no music performances.

Karthik Chennoji Rao (vocalist, Pineapple Express)

Can you tell us about your set list for Alboe by the Beach?
We are beyond thrilled to be bringing a first-of-its-kind production in the country, to the shores of Varkala. Presenting Pineapple Express — Grand Symphony (feat. The Bangalore String and Brass Ensemble), an immersive audio-visual experience, where we’re performing epic and adventurous arrangements of our most famous tracks with a 15-piece live orchestral ensemble, for the first time ever. The fact that this is going to happen in Kerala, our second home, is a special feeling.

How do you usually decide your set list?
It is a different process each time, based on the kind, vibe and time of the show. As for Alboe by the Beach, we have carefully curated a set with releases from every year that PEX has existed, so the audience gets to hear the full spectrum of the PEX journey. That, plus a few sneak peeks from our new, unreleased music as well.

What are you looking forward to at the festival?
Honestly, we cannot wait to see the mascot in person. This festival has sparked a new way of doing so many things and we are all for it. Travelling with an entourage of 30+ people is both a vibe and a challenge in itself, and we love a good challenge. Finally, Varkala is somewhere we haven’t played before and we have heard many wonderful things about the place as well, so we are frankly looking forward to the entire experience and the Grand Symphony is the perfect cherry on top.

What can we expect from you in 2024?
We are looking forward to releasing our first full-length album. We have a few much-awaited releases and some interesting collaborations coming up this year.

Jeremiah De Rozario

Tell us more about your set list for the festival?
We are trying a little something new this time. Apart from my music, that is already out there, me and my band, The Nice Kids, will be performing songs from my upcoming EP. The older favourites are definitely there but I cannot wait to show everyone the new songs. It’s important that everyone comes ready to dance.

How do you usually work on your set list?
Well, we try to gauge the kind of audience that will show up and, of course, what setting we would be playing in. If it’s an intimate setting then, we are probably going to keep it easy, help people relax and give them context on most or all songs. If there’s a larger crowd and the ambience is such that people are there to party, then I try to stick to the more upbeat, fun songs. Honestly, even then I try to slip in a slow song in there somewhere just to give people a breather.

What are you looking forward to at Alboe by the Beach?
I am obviously looking forward to performing to what I think is going to be an amazing crowd. More than that, I think it’s the other artistes that will be sharing these stages. I cannot wait to watch them and to think that I am on the same bill just fills me up with pride. Frizzel, Reble, Mary Ann, Sunflower Tape Machine and HanuMankind are some acts I have been dying to see live and I cannot wait to catch them there.

What are your plans for 2024?
For starters, I will be releasing my first EP called The Orange Notebook shortly after the festival and hopefully a few more singles. The goal is to play in as many festivals as I can get my hands on.

Mary Ann

What does your set list entail for the music festival?
I’ll be playing a lot of unreleased music that I can’t wait to share.

How do you usually decide your set list?
When I get excited about making my own music, I just know I’ll be playing it in my next set!

What are you looking forward to at the festival?
I grew up in Kerala and I never got to experience anything like Alboe by the Beach. The beach is also my favourite place to be. I’m very thrilled to be a part of this.

What can we expect from you in 2024?
A lot of the unreleased music that I’ve been playing exclusively in my live sets are going out into the world this year. I cannot wait!

INR 1,599 onwards. February 9 to 11. At Varkala. Roundtrip from Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram by air: `6,000 onwards.

X: @al_ben_so

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