HistoryThe Dover Lane Music Festival first began in the City of Joy, Kolkata in 1952. The festival gets the name from the fact that it first took place in Dover Lane, a popular street in the Ballygunge area of Kolkata. It started here as a dream nurtured by a few music lovers who got together to share their common interest for classical music. In the initial years, it was a small event with fewer numbers of artists and attracted only the local population.
However, today has culminated into a full blown cultural celebration of Indian Classical Music organized at Nazrul Mancha on Southern Avenue. The head office of the organizing committee is still at 18/2 Dover Lane.
The numbers of days and artists have increased over the years. It has become a premier festival in Eastern India and draws a crowd more than four to five thousand people on every night of the performance. The attendees come from Kolkata, its neighbouring states, other parts of India and overseas. It has established itself as an important cultural program not only for the musicians but also for the public who are passionate about music.
Every year the city welcomes thousands of music aficionados flocking to Nazrul Mancha for the event that has enchanted foreigners and natives alike for so many years. The crowd has people from all walks of life and different age groups sharing a common interest. Today, its popularity can be gauged simply by looking at the increase in the number of sponsors added each year. The tickets are sold out within days of the opening of the counter making it one of the most coveted music festivals in India.
Types of MusicThe festival is held for four days and each day there is a different classical music show that entices the audience. There are exponents of not only Hindustani Classical Music but also of Carnatic Music. They encompass both vocal as well as instrumental forms. Eminent musicians from all over the country have performed and continue to perform at the Dover Lane Music Festival. The performances begin late in the evening and go on all night long till the next morning.
CharacterOne differentiating factor of the festival is that the Dover Lane Festival places great emphasis on promoting new talent in the music industry. The fans and community members of the festival also insist on the same and therefore the 2015 festival will provide a platform to more upcoming artists to showcase their talent. The young Sarod master Anupam Shobhakar performed last year. Other requests were for popular icons like Anushka Shankar, Shubha Mudgal, Kala Ramnath, Rashid Khan, Bombay Jayashree, PadminI Rao who is a wonderful example of the Kirana Gharana style and Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.
Having the opportunity to write to the festival organizers the names of artists they would like to hear the following year is a very interesting approach initiated a few years ago by the festival organizers. The Festival is engaged in the promotion and propagation of Indian Classical Music. Most soul -stirring musicians of the generation find a place at this prestigious festival which has been running to full houses for 62 years.
CompetitionThere is a talent search contest 2013- 2014 for items like Kheyal, Thumri, Bhajan, Ragpradhan, Sitar, Sarod, Tabla, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kahthak. The age limit for vocal and other items is 16 to 24 years whereas for dance item is 16 to 22 years.
How to Reach
Since Kolkata is a metropolitan city, it is very well linked to other major cities by road. There are regular bus services both private and government owned. Car facilities are also available from neighboring cities.