About Darbar

We at Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believe that Indian classical music is one of the world’s greatest art forms and has the power to transform and transport the listener.  

We are most known for our annual Darbar Festival, which started off as a tribute to the late Gurmit Singh Virdee, an inspirational tabla (percussion instrument) player and teacher who taught thousands of students across the UK. A one-off festival in his memory has now become an annual festival and a key event in the classical music calendar.

Indian classical music has evolved over thousands of years. It is built on improvisation, a holistic raga (a set of notes performed in a melodic way) system and intricate mathematical flow making it unique. At its very core are the cultural and spiritual traditions of India, giving it a depth and significance, which transcends many other genres of music. Put simply it stirs the soul.

Few people, however, have access to Indian classical music because they don’t understand or simply don’t know where to find it.  In a bid to champion Indian classical music, we have re-shaped the landscape of Indian classical music in Britain, by promoting excellence, risk taking and innovation.

We work in four areas:

1. Quality live events – our flagship event is our annual Darbar Festival. Audiences can immerse themselves in over 30 hours of music as well as talks, demonstration workshops, music appreciation courses, and yoga set to live music. This is classical Indian music at its most authentic. We don’t dumb it down or re-shape it for a modern audience. We simply create a platform for great musicians to perform, as they do in India – and have done for generations. We also have concerts in other cities including Birmingham, Leicester and Gateshead for example.

2. Inspiring new generations through education – we are the expert partner to deliver Indian music education to primary school children with the Leicester Shire Music Hub. We also support and develop emerging UK based artists to professionally develop and to ensure the genre is sustained. In order to help de-mystify Indian classical music and increase access to it we run an Indian classical music appreciation course.                                         

3. Reaching new audiences through digital platforms – using High Definition technology we film the Festivals for broadcast on Sky Arts TV; we support BBC Radio 3 to air programmes from the Festivals and we produce short video and audio clips for our website and social media platforms to help people engage with this music outside live events.

4. Managing sustainable growth – Darbar is a small organisation punching way above its weight. It is important to ensure we grow in a sustainable way with an effective team, diverse funding sources and a keen eye on the market to respond to the needs of our audiences.

Darbar latest article

Living Traditions: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music 08 August 2019 Darbar Festival

Welcome to Living Traditions - a new written collection by Darbar's George Howlett, exploring how music with ancient roots is adapting to ...

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Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee


The Darbar Festival is dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee, an inspirational tabla teacher, in whose memory the Festival was first established in 2006.

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Be part of the story

There are a number of ways that you can get involved in Darbar's work from volunteering in our office or at our live events to helping fundraise for us as an ambassador. 


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Meet The Team

Find out more about who works behind the scenes of Darbar. 

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Support Us

Darbar is a small registered charity. We are always looking for new partners who can help us fulfil our mission and vision. 

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Contact And Press Info

For general enquiries please write to us at hello@darbar.org

For press Information please contact Mary Rahman at MRPR on info@mr-pr.com or telephone 020 7749 1136



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About Darbar:

Founded in 2006, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believes in the power of Indian classical arts to stir, thrill and inspire. Through digital connectivity, shared experiences and enrichment we ensure that one of the finest art forms reaches the widest possible audience.

Darbar delivers premium quality live events, music education, broadcasts and digital engagement through artistic innovation and creative technology. We are also committed to providing a platform for new talent from the UK and India.

Darbar is proud to be supported by


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