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Caravan of Sun: Swarathma’s Solar-Powered Concert Drive Illuminates Indian Cities

The dusty road stretched ahead. Inside a car, a Swarathma song was brewing. A few months ago, the Bengaluru-based folk-rock music band members embarked on a research trip with the Selco Foundation, collaborating on songs for their initiative to bring clean energy to rural villages. Amid bursts of creative energy, a single question sparked a significant brainwave.

“We were literally writing music in the car,” recalls Jishnu Dasgupta, bassist and vocalist. “When the thought struck us: if solar power can light up villages, why not power a concert?” This question ignited the idea for Swarathma’s upcoming multi-city concert tour promoting their latest album Raushan, powered entirely by solar energy.

The tour kicked off in Mumbai on May 25, traveled to Bengaluru on June 1, and plans to visit Pune, Hyderabad, Indore, Delhi, and Jaipur. Songs from the album are being released sequentially as the band travels to these cities.

“While there may have been some attempts at solar-powered concerts before, our goal is bigger,” says Jishnu. “We want to demonstrate that a viable alternative to conventional energy exists for live events. We hope this becomes the standard, replacing the fossil fuels typically used for concerts.”

“This isn’t just about a unique stage setup; it’s about proving that even large concerts with 1,000 people can run on renewable energy. That’s the true challenge and what excites us most. Of course, we’re also excited to just play these concerts for our fans,” he adds.

Traditionally, concerts rely on loud and polluting diesel generators. Jishnu highlights the challenge: “The amplification system doesn’t care if the power source is clean or not. The long hours and the need for reliable power during a concert make generators the norm.”

Swarathma’s solution is a unique, multi-stage approach. Jishnu explains: “Ideally, we’d have solar panels directly powering the concert, but that’s not always feasible. Our current system uses a large battery bank charged with clean energy sources whenever possible. This battery can power the sound system for the entire concert.”

This initial tour focuses on powering the sound system. Future iterations may expand to include lighting and visuals. Jishnu emphasizes the importance of a measured approach: “The sound system uses a steady power draw, unlike lighting, which can have surges. We’re starting with powering just the sound to ensure stability before potentially expanding.”

The ultimate goal is to inspire a broader shift within the music industry. Jishnu and the band envision a future where every city has a setup like this. “Imagine fans requesting eco-friendly concerts! This is about artists, music lovers, and the entire ecosystem working together for a more sustainable future,” he says.

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Swarathma’s commitment to social consciousness is not a recent development. Their music has always been a platform for social commentary, weaving narratives about various issues into their sound, both implicitly and explicitly.

“While many of our songs touch on social issues, this concert won’t be a preachy environmental message fest. It’ll be a typical Swarathma show with all our favorite tunes and some new stuff we’ve been working on. We’re known for writing socially conscious music, but it’s not a forced thing—it just comes naturally through our songwriting,” says Varun Murali, another vocalist and guitarist of Swarathma.

Jishnu adds, “Artists don’t have all the answers, but we can be powerful amplifiers. Music brings people together, creating a sense of community and shared experience. We can use that power to reflect how we feel about the world around us. It’s not about preaching; it’s about using music to connect with our audience and explore what we care about together.”

Known for their social awareness, Varun emphasizes that Swarathma prioritizes artistic freedom, but not every song needs a social message.

“Art is a personal expression. Some artists create for purely personal reasons, like expressing love through a song. It’s unfair to expect every artist to convey a social message. It’s like the criticism celebrities face for not knowing every fact,” he says. “In Swarathma’s case, our music isn’t a conscious social commentary. The world around us naturally influences what we write about. We haven’t set out to be a socially conscious band.”

The digital age has transformed the way bands connect with audiences. Social media, a double-edged sword for Swarathma, plays a crucial role in this connection. Varun acknowledges the pressure it brings. “Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s something you have to deal with, like it or not. But as long as that pressure doesn’t force us to make music we’re unhappy with, I think it’s okay,” he says.

Jishnu concurs with Varun. “We weren’t around when social media exploded, so it’s new territory for us. We’re learning the ropes to make using social media a positive experience, something that doesn’t compromise the music itself. It’s about finding the right bridge to connect with listeners.”

“But ultimately,” he says, “The real connection comes from performing live and knowing our music has meaning in people’s lives.”