GETTING STARTED WITH THE MARGAZHI FESTIVAL
Updated: Jul 3
The December Margazhi season is here and if you are overwhelmed and trying to decide where to go, how to get tickets and who to listen to, well, you have come to the right place.
There are three performance streams that happen during the season. Here they are listed in order of frequency:
-Carnatic Music (singing mainly)
-Bharathnatyam (mainly dance, solo or group)
-Lecture-demonstrations (of music and dance practices)
The key is to find the right mix based on your capacity to absorb, the time you have available and preference of form, knowledge and aesthetic. With so much happening during the festival, that it’s important you find your own rhythm, so you do not have Kutcheri-fatigue (performance-fatigue). So Step 1 is to identify your daily/weekly capacity to attend and properly enjoy performances.
In order to start planning which performances to attend, you need to know what performances are available, when and where. There are two ways of figuring this out:
Go to a Nalli Chinnasami Chetty store (map) and get a Reckoner for the season. Some other Nalli stores also stock the Reckoner, so call the one closest to you. This gives any Rasika (patron) a feeling of power and planning.
Another option, would be to download the Margazhi Sangeetham app to have all this information right on your phone.
There are a few ways to plan the month-long (sometimes even longer) Margazhi season.
OPTION 1: Buy season tickets to one Sabha (venue), as all the top artists will inevitably be presented.
OPTION 2: Choose the dates you are available and the artists you want to see and plan your days/weeks ahead of time.
OPTION 3: Some ardent fans will follow select artist(s) right throughout the season. If you have a favourite performer(s), this might be your preferred course of action.
OPTION 4: A combination of the other three options.
I recommend OPTION 1 because it's the easiest to navigate in terms of comfort and the ease of acquiring tickets, via a season pass. It's worth noting that all morning and afternoon concerts are free. Only concerts after 4pm are ticketed.
This should get you prepped and ready to start planning which artists to follow and how to get your tickets sorted out. These will be addressed in the next couple of blog posts.
Update: For ticketing/parking advice for specific venues, please read my newer blog entry on the subject: Sabha Advice
Author: Shreya Nagarajan Singh
Shreya is the founder of SNS Arts Management Consultancy. She has a strong background in the performance arts, as a Bharathnatyam dancer and comes from a family of performers.
She has been a regular patron of music, dance and theatre for a decade and a half. Through her company she helps artists navigate the management of their careers and art organisations in curating and executing business plans and events alike.