Chennai Music and Dance Festival is organized every year during mid-December to mid-January. Throughout the month, renowned artists schedule dance and music performances all over the city. Organized by various sabhas (organizations) in the city, the festival is intended to promote the classical music and classical dances of South India.
The festival began as a way to memorialize the anniversary of Madras Music Academy each December. Gradually, various organizations throughout Chennai joined in, making this one of the most lively and talent-filled festivals in all of India. The city truly comes alive during the festival it has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants.
Performances include vocal and instrumental music, as well as solo and group dances. Even upcoming artists get the chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music includes songs in various South Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada accompanied by flutes, veena (a large string instrument), goottuvadyam (similar to veena but without frets), nagaswaram (a pipe), thavil (a percussion instrument), mridangam (a drum), and even ghatam (a mud pot).