Percept in the News

'Sunburn is not just a music festival-it's a lifestyle'
23 December, 2013

For the first time in six years, Sunburn has moved-from Candolim to Vagator. How are you feeling?

At the crazy rate at which Sunburn has grown, it could not have been held at a space-compromised location like Candolim. We are very excited about our new venue at Vagator-not only is it ten times larger, but the view of the sunset is spectacular, and will lend our festival a 'drama angle'. Another high comes from the landscaping of the sprawling site. It has flat land, gentle grassy slopes and even its own rocky cliff, where the biggest stage will be set up.
Sunburn has taken Goa as a tourist destination and a party capital to whole new heights. Did you feel irritated with all the issues you had with getting permissions in place this year?
The Goa government has been incredibly supportive. If anything is annoying , it's when we are compared to smaller EDM festivals that are not remotely in the same league. But Sunburn is definitely something that the Goa government should 'celebrate'-we are ranked the no. 4 music festival in the world, and not just on the basis of size. We have music-lovers from 36 countries converging on Goa just for Sunburn-I mean, tourism ministries have entire budgets only to accomplish this kind of thing.
We have heard you claim that even people who are not into electronic dance music (EDM) will enjoy the festival?
I have converted thousands of skeptics into EDM lovers. Besides, this year, 50% of our venue will be occupied by the Sunburn lifestyle section-it will be a place where our guests can just be themselves. Bungee jumping, rappelling and rock-climbing, hot air balloon rides, 'Sunburn cruises' on fancy yachts- the festival has a range of adventure sports activities on offer. Sports-lovers can play table tennis, volleyball and football, the couch potatoes will probably make a bee-line to our large open-air cinema theatre. Dance machines, a library, a flea market, a kite-festival and even a VIP foam party-our guests have plenty of options apart from the main show. And then, there's the food-from momos to pizzas and Goan delicacies-all our food will be locally sourced to give more business to Goan entrepreneurs. For the first time, we will set up a beautiful artist's village-each of our performing artists will have their own tent where they can hang out and catch up with each other. At events like these, the artists usually just come, play and run away. This village will lend a cooler vibe-there will be a DJ console for them to jam and play for each other, a rejuvenation centre and a live kitchen. A few privileged fans (chosen through a contest three days before the festival) will get to enter this village and hang out with the artists.
Aren't you worried that Vagator is a bit cut-off from Goa's party stretch, and that most of the best hotels are around Candolim-Calangute?
Not really, Vagator is the central point of North Goa's coastline, and merges the best of both sides. There is zero limitation on accommodation here, and for the first time, we are going to have camping on-site. We are still working out permission for this facility, but once it comes through, guests can reserve their tents on first come, first serve basis. There will however be a limited number of tents -though I have reserved one for myself; I am keen on staying at the venue this year.
Sunburn has always been synonymous with Goa-how come you're branching out to other states?
Sunburn may be Goa's biggest EDM festival, but Goa is not Sunburn's biggest-from January 2013, we have had 216 Sunburn events which each saw a turnout ranging from 500 to 35,000 guests. Sunburn believes in being a responsible brand of music, with something for everybody. We had free-of-cost concerts for students at 52 college campuses across the country-from BITS Pilani to the IIMs and medical colleges as well. These were alcohol-free gigs though. Our next format was 'Sunburn Reloaded' for level-2 markets, reaching out to smaller cities and also the EDM fans who cannot afford to make it to the bigger festivals. We took a mix of national and international artists to 45 cities including Calicut, Lucknow, Allahabad, Vizag and Guwahati-and the response was insane. I was shocked when our Baroda event saw a turnout of 4,000 guests, and even Nagpur received 3,000-plus guests. Young people all over India enjoy music and sunshine. And finally, three massive 'Sunburn Arena' events at Bangalore, Mumbai and Noida featuring the biggest names on the global EDM scene-Swedish House Mafia, Avici, Hardwell, Cascade. In reality, this three-day year-ender festival in Goa is just the climax of a year chock-full of Sunburn events.
And are you also planning to take Sunburn international?
I have always maintained that Sunburn is a 'glocal brand'-produced locally and consumed globally-it is already broadcast live in over 80 countries. We have already taken Sunburn to Sri Lanka and Dubai; next year we are planning to explore more of South East Asia. Tell us about your other live music brands-why did Goa miss out on Windsong (festival of independent music) this year? The explosion of Sunburn, in terms of popularity and size, has forced us to put Windsong on the backburner this year. We had to take a call to concentrate our financial resources, time and energy into Sunburn. In November, Percept launched 'Bollyboom', a festival of Bollywood Electronic Music in Delhi, and it was a tremendous success.