The event was designed to build a fraternity of potential musicians of various genres, to network, interact, and be inspired by each other, as well as to learn from the established artists at the festival. The aim was to provide a platform to exhibit their confidence, appreciation, and personal connection with the field of music, and to bring them one step closer to pursuing their musical dreams. “Random jam sessions taking place in the lawns, near the cafeteria, and outside the competition auditoriums, really are the most magical part of the event”, commented Natasha Noorani, Vice President of the LUMS Music Society. “People from all over the country engage with each other and make music. It’s beautiful.”
The first day of the event began with Noorani’s ukulele performance, and reached the pinnacle of musical frenzy with the first round of the Eastern and Western singing competitions. The panel of judges felt almost betrayed at being so oblivious to the fantastic solo shows put up by the participants – an original track on feminism that was not only entertaining but also inspiring, some great versions of Adele, Audioslave, Frank Sinatra, as well as powerful renditions of songs by Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sonu Nigham.
Mekaal Hasan's Interactive Workshop
The evening featured an interactive and humorous workshop by Mekaal Hasan from the Mekaal Hasan Band, and Zain Ahsan and Danish Khwaja from Poor Rich Boy. This trio delivered an extraordinary session on how to go about producing one’s own music, along with a number of fun-filled facts and anecdotes.
The day breathed its end with free food and an “open mic night”, where participants from IoBM (Institute of Business Management), GIKI (Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute), and a number of other schools and colleges from Punjab sang freely, without any fear of competing or being scrutinized.
Umair Jaswal's workshop
Saturday was perhaps the most happening day of the festival, where musical creativity reached its zenith. The day started with the second round of the Eastern and Western singing competition, an intense instrumental round, and a terrific and hilarious Music Mind Quest Trivia. The stage was ablaze with innovation: fusion of metal music with desi song lyrics, original ballads, impressive semi-classical guitar performances, original sitar compositions, and some highly meticulous finger techniques with multiple instruments. The winning team, a group of students from LUMS, will receive a free cake every month for the next few months.
The ardent love for music continued in the evening when Umair Jaswal carried out an amusing and delightful workshop emphasizing the need to pursue one’s passionate goals without buying into the bribes of the corporate world and societal pressures. His delivery was very candid and conversational, and he recounted his earlier days when “tikkas” and “naans” were thrown at him by impatient audiences, and how he convinced himself to follow his musical dream despite the obstacles.
The audience swayed to the musical fusion created by the Battle of the Bands, followed by Ali Azmat, who charmed the crowd with his phenomenal hits like “Na Re Na”, “Bum Phatta”, “Aye Jazba Junoon” and “Sayonee”. Azmat not only sang for the crowd but also spoke with a great deal of passion. He inculcated in the crowd a sense of profound patriotism and devotion for the country, and ended his show marveling at the courage of his Pakistani fellows who had survived and soared in the world despite the perpetual state of animosity prevalent in the country. His parting words, “We, the best”, stuck with the audience for a long time.
The final day of the Music Festival commenced with a workshop by the outstanding drummer Kami Paul, where he elaborated on the struggles faced by him during his career, and how he overcame them. He also shared some great tips and tricks about coordination and timing to assist rising drummers. The utter humility with which he answered all the questions of the participants, and the way he broke into a trance-like, free, rhythmic jam, made his audience fall in love with him immediately.
The winner of the Battle of the Bands,” Psychonauts,” performed on the stage one final time before the band SYMT stole the show with Haroon Shahid’s enthralling voice and his dramatic performance with the Pakistani flag.
The festival, through its brilliant singing and instrumental competitions, incredibly inspiring mentorship programs, and mesmerizing concerts, allowed the Pakistani community to witness and become part of an informative and enchanting musical journey, where love for music was celebrated and love for the country filled the air.
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