Percept in the News

India's Percept set to export Sunburn and Bollyboom festivals
29 November, 2016

The 10th edition of Sunburn, one of the world’s biggest dance music festivals staged in India, shifts from Goa to Pune in December, headlined by such acts as Armin van Burren, Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, KSHMR and Axwell Ingrosso. The organizer, Percept Live, a unit of Indian media, entertainment and communications group Percept Limited, plans to export that format next year together with another concept it created, Bollyboom, Bollywood’s biggest dance music festival.

“Out of our intellectual properties Sunburn is the one that can help us grow our markets into Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa, Middle East and Asia,” Percept Limited Chairman and Managing Director Harindra Singh said. “Bollyboom is another property that we can take across the world in different formats to any place where people love Bollywood music. In the summer of 2017 we are planning an international calendar starting with tours in the U.S. and the U.K. We are closing deals now.”

Singh estimates his company will spend $5 million on Sunburn 10, which runs from December 28-31 at Sunburn Hills, a privately-owned 90 acre property on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway. He expects sponsorship will generate 50% of the revenues with the balance from ticket sales and food and beverage. The sponsors include Renault, Gionee, Kingfisher, Smirnoff, online transport network Ola, Sky Bags, SpiceJet, Ray-Ban and Cleartrip. Tickets range from 2,000 rupees ($29.15) for a single day to 7,750 rupees ($112.94) for a 4-day season pass and he is projecting a daily attendance of more than 50,000. Typically 25% of festival attendees come from other countries, most notably the U.K., Australia, U.A.E. and Sri Lanka. Four sound stages will host more than 150 acts. Singh is a strong believer in nurturing home-grown talent so the line-up includes Indian artists including Nucleya, Shaan, Zaeden, Anish Sood, DJ SA, Sound Avatar, Joshi and Priyanjan.

He is confident that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision on November 8 to decommission all 500 rupee ($7.40) and 1,000 rupee banknotes in a bid to curb corruption and the black money market will not have an impact on Sunburn because almost 90% of the transactions will be cashless. The decision to switch the venue to Sunburn Hills, Pune stemmed from the costs of staging the festival in Goa, which kept rising while revenues dropped, and to take advantage of the superior infrastructure and supportive administration in the state of Maharashtra.

The company’s events target India’s urban youth population of 600 million. “We are an indispensable bridge for brands to reach that overall market and segments such as Bollywood music fans, EDM fans, Rock music fans, arts and culture,” said Singh. This year it is staging 40-50 editions of Bollyboom and 90 smaller versions of Sunburn. Its roster includes Windsong, a camping music festival which launched in Goa in 2012, and mixed martial arts bouts. Windsong is being revived as part of Eat Play Love, a new two-day food and music festival which launches on December 17/18 and will travel to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Nagpur, with a plan to expand to other regions over the next three years.

Percept Pictures, the unit which produces and distributes U.S. and Indian movies, was scaled back in the aftermath of the GFC after handling more than 70 titles. Singh is looking to put fresh capital into that division and will release Percept Pictures’ Hanuman Da’Damdaar, a children’s animated feature directed and written by Ruchi Narain, with Salman Khan voicing the Hindu mythological God Lord Hanuman, in early 2017. In the past couple of years the company restructured and downsized, divesting non-core businesses and closing dozens of branch offices. “One thing we have learned from our own experience is that it’s better to focus on a couple of areas and be good at that rather than doing so many other things,” he said. “We have a stable focus in future. We are not going to get into labor or capital- intensive businesses.”