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Of Hippies and Happiness

Some of my weekends are spent lazing around the house annoying my mum, or maybe catching up with friends for some banter. Others are spent partying till the early break of dawn followed by days of regret over poor choices. Well. Last weekend was different.

Last weekend I attended the Lil Flea. The Lil Flea is a two day festival celebrating art and culture which takes place at the Jio Garden in Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai. It’s been taking place for the past three years now and has picked up a lot of traction, and for good reason. For their 3rd anniversary, it took place on two weekends, April 1-2 as well as April 8-9. I attended the latter. Armed with my camera and childlike enthusiasm, this is my account of the fest.

The Lil Flea combines the three holy pillars of a beautiful existence- art, music and food. The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the place is the sheer exotic nature of it all. Mats on the ground, tents around, lanterns, fairy lights, and dream catchers, bands playing all night long, crop tops and harem pants; it’s safe to say the Lil Flea was low key lit. While the heat was conspiring to kill everyone, the people didn’t seem to care much, they combatted the raging sun with their smiles and a beer. If I were to describe this event in one word it would probably be ‘happy’. A simple expression, yet a very important one. This was a weekend filled with happiness.

You’d think the most attractive thing about this two-day fest would be the exhibits or the bands playing, or maybe the décor and the elaborate setups. But the most attractive part of this fest were the people attending. A party is only as good as its crowd, and the Lil Flea proves that. A representative of the current trends in art and culture in Mumbai, the one word I thought of when I saw them was, well, hippie. Hippie culture. Now, I don’t mean it in a bad way at all. It’s fresh and nostalgic at the same time, forming a sort of strange fashion paradox.

People who’re brave in their choice of their hair colour and the fit of their pants, families taking the weekend to spend some relaxed time under the sun, the extremely lively crowd during the band performances. With workshops on varied subjects, from kids learning fun ways to approach art to adults learning the more complex ones, to people sharing their stories and encouraging others to do so too, the crowd stole the day.

The music was, safe to say, phenomenal. 12 indie acts performed over the course of two weekends, with three musicians each night. Amongst the ones performing were local Indian acts like Tejas Menon and Swarathma to Germany based Prem Joshua. The music reiterated the feel of the fest, driving the audience to a common platform. Classical instrumentalists performing psychedelic music and singer songwriters discussing their woes, the crowd seemed to accept them with the same amount of love. Music was the one thing I was looking forward to the most in this fest, and I probably spent most of my time at the cusp of the stage, enjoying the music and photographing the vibe. It was well worth it.

Short Round Guha, guitarist for Tejas Menon

Tejas Menon

Krishna Marathe

Prem Joshua

By now you might have guessed that the one thing that the Lil Flea wanted to promote the most was art. Art is at the base of this all, and one look around the fair will sell you that fact. With the amazing décor to the varied workshops, to multiple art stall exhibits and artists peddling their talents on spot, it was a clear message that art is not dead. In fact, it’s thriving, right in the heart of the city.

A artist painting people’s faces live

Who says kids can’t create modern art?

It’s not hard to guess that I had a really good experience. The one lonely criticism I have is the fact that stuff here might just be a tad bit overrated, and I don’t think I’m helping that in anyway. Go and experience it for yourself, maybe you’ll find yourself at home.


About The Author

Yash is selectively social and has an affinity for the ineffable. He loves triangles, obscure references and depression memes. Surviving on music and tea, he dreams of creating content and telling stories through various art forms while travelling the world. Film + photography enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram @randomyash.


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