5 counter-culture festivals you haven't heard of


Exposure to world culture over time is perhaps the best thing that has happened to India. People are moving outside their comfort zones to explore new subcultures of sport, adventure and lifestyle. This paradigm shift has been beneficial to the events industry, as it has led to the creation of new festivals that draw hordes of passionate and niche audiences. Here is Everything Experiential’s list of five counter-culture events & festivals you mostly haven’t heard of.

The Third Eye Tour

Conceptualised in 2014 by action sports journalist Abhishek Khan, Varun Patra of Homegrown, Nick Smith of Advaita Collective and Albert Nielsen of ALIS, the Third Eye Tour was a skateboarding tour that celebrated concrete skate spots and culture across three cities. The 8-day event was designed around a road-trip theme with 45 skateboarders who travelled from Bangalore to Hampi to Goa, stopping over at skate bowls in each of these cities for skate jams, competitions and workshops. The tour saw a few hundred skating enthusiasts participate and discover more about the sport. Despite its scale, the tour saw brands like Red Bull and Vans come on board, surely not keen on missing out on India’s first Skateboarding extravaganza.

India Surf Festival

This February played host to the third edition of the uniquely designed India Surf Festival. Water-heads from all over the country congregated at Konark, Odisha to soak in some surf, sand, art and music. The Festival saw hardcore surfboarders and enthusiasts alike come together to promote the sport in the country. On the sponsors front, Kingfisher Blue came on as title sponsor with Odisha Tourism as co-sponsor. Woodlands Shoes and Sonata Watches were a few prominent sponsors among others.


Zambhala’s one line pitch says “India’s Yoga, Music, And Life Spirit Festival”, and why not? It’s the perfect lure for stressed out urban dwellers to pack their bags and head to Goa for the two-day siesta. Conceptualized and produced by Seventy EMG, the event featured professional Yoga tutors, spiritual practitioners healers, nutritionists and even martial artists engage attendees in lessons, talks and performances. While we didn’t see any big names on the sponsors list, the scope for Zambhala in the coming years is immense.

Bhoj Adventure Fest

The Bhoj Adventure Fest, organized by the Bhopal Tourism and MP State Tourism Development Council, plays out over a period of a month. The festival is a celebration of a variety of sports such as skydiving, hot air ballooning, bungee jumping, parasailing, rappelling, water surfing, banana rides and shooting (to name a few). The festival is an effort to develop a penchant among youngsters between 16 to 21 years and requires them to camp at the festival through its duration. Although it is lesser known, the festival is very popular in regional circles.

India Bike Week

India Bike Week was born out of the macho subculture of bikers riding together. It is a massive two-day congregation of hardcore bikers in Vagator, Goa featuring live music, cage fighting, stunt zones, racetracks and motorsport celebrities. The festival, put together by Seventy EMG, saw Harley Davidson come on-board as title sponsors while Castrol, MRF, Jameson Whiskey were associate sponsors. In the course of two years, the festival has grown from 6500 to 10000 people, indicating the birth of a fast-growing niche community.

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