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 Percept in the News

Lessons from Sunburn
26 December, 2014

Bringing you one of the wildest parties before the New Year is no walk in the park. Harindra Singh of Percept would know. His company has been responsible for the conceptualisation and execution of what has now become one of the most popular music festivals in the world — Sunburn.  Ahead of the eighth edition that kicks off in Vagator, Goa, this weekend, the vice-chairman and managing director of Percept shares with ET Panache the challenges that were overcome to ensure the show goes on every year. 
 
Sunburn's USP 
I can deliver 10,000 eyeballs to a brand at Sunburn. We have the audience for hours and are giving the marketer an opportunity to engage. Every brand with us gets to create an experience on our platform. The value of creating that experience is far greater than the opportunity to see an ad. The fan following for electronic dance music (EDM) is only 2 per cent of the Indian audience. But this is the 2 per cent that drives high-end cars, wears stylish brands and lives a five-star lifestyle. I must be able to deliver to the brands that are with us the experience that they want with the consumer. It can only happen if the brands are picked correctly. 
 
Paying for good music 
We began with zero-ticketing revenue. We began to graduate slowly to 10 per cent, 20 per cent, 50 per cent. Now, of our total attendance, we are happy that 60-70 per cent are paid.  When you do a concert, 90 per cent of the crowd is there when the gate opens. Our Sunburn Arena opens at 5 pm, the headlining artist starts at 8 pm and everybody wants to come together at 8 pm.  The maximum noisemakers are the freeloaders. There is a learning here. We now charge more for the tickets that entitles people to walk in and out at any time. You get a discount if you enter before time. 
 
Battling the rave image 
We were always associated with rave parties; rave parties equal drug abuse and Sunburn is equal to that. Honestly, our biggest challenge has been dealing with this mindset consistently.  We have had to fight those who opposed Sunburn screaming "drugs", "drinking" and "bad habits" whether they be the media, the bureaucracy, the politicians or the police. We have done everything possible to keep this clean. You can walk into an airport with stuff you are not allowed to walk in with. Try doing that at Sunburn. 
 
More music festivals, the merrier 
Supersonic (Viacom 18's EDM fest) has actually helped us. If it weren't for them, we would have stayed in Candolim, Goa. We were in love with Candolim. We were blind and complacent. When we were forced to step out, we went to Vagator, which is a million times better, bigger and sexier.  We have 600 million youth in this country. Why does Supersonic want the same people who are coming to Sunburn on the same dates? I want to ask them why they are fighting us. Let us build two festivals. Let people choose. Earlier, people had no choice and hence, loved Sunburn. Now they have a choice, and they still love Sunburn. So, thank you Viacom! 
 
Sunburn will be held from December 27-30 at Vagator, Goa.