The magnetic pull that Joy Bangla Concert left on the gen-next youths makes them miss the vibe and rhythm transmitted by the country's rockstars as the Covid concern halted the event for two years in a row.
The concert, blending wartime melodies with the modern rock genre, pays a tribute to the historic speech of 7 March by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Reflecting on the history-telling aspect of the event, Dhaka University student Sajit Rahman said, "It gives me a goosebump when I remember that one of the greatest speeches of all time has been delivered at a spot so close to my dormitory. That single speech, now recognised by mankind as a memory of the world, set the tone for our freedom, the long-cherished freedom symbolised by our red and green flag."
Joy Bangla Concert, named after the historic slogan "Joy Bangla" that Bangabandhu ended his speech with, carried forward that legacy.
"That is why I look forward to this concert every year," he added.
Arranged by Young Bangla, the youth secretariat of think tank Centre for Research & Information (CRI), the concert brings back the soulful songs rendered through the secret radio station Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra in 1971.
During the Liberation war, the songs inspired the entire nation to resist the genocide launched by Pakistan on the unarmed civilians of Bangladesh. In addition to featuring wartime songs, the concert also creates the perfect ambience for youths jumping to the beats of their favourite rockstars electrifying the audience through strings and vocals.
"I was part of the crowd that was stitched together with the musical rhythm created by the icons of our time. I loved the way the history of our independence was conveyed in between songs. The historic songs come back alive through this concert," said Sudipta Saha, a BBA student of East-West University.
In 2020, the Joy Bangla Concert facilitated a 3D hologram where Bangabandhu appeared the same way he had appeared while delivering the 7 March speech. The audience had a hard time believing their eyes. Recalling that experience, Dhaka Medical College Student Arefin Ahmed said, "The hologram resembled the same man who spoke in a leonine voice against the repressive regime of Pakistan. Anyone watching it would mistake the hologram for a real one."
North South University student Bijoy Mahmud feels nostalgic when he recalls the days when he used to occupy a spot with his friends on the concert ground and allow the vibe to carry him away.
"This is the biggest occasion when you see all the stars sharing the same stage. They run their fiery fingers on their instruments. As we watch old clips of Mark Knopfler or Eric Clapton on YouTube, we get a nearly similar vibe in the concert."
The Joy Bangla Concert 2020, held at Army Stadium on 7 March 2020, featured university-based underground bands – Introit, Arekta Rock Band, Adverb, Sin, and Conclusion who performed in the first segment of the show. This was followed by band F Minor, an all-female ethnic community band that is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. Solo artist Minar Rahman also performed for the first time, followed by Avoid Rafa, Shunno, Vikings, Lalon, Arbovirus, Cryptic Fate, Nemesis, Fuad & Friends, and Chirkutt.