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 Percept in the News

“If Sunburn gets nod, we'll plan a smaller event” says Harindra Singh, CMD, Percept
24 September, 2020

Amid Covid-19 when the entire world has come to a standstill and the economies are collapsing, similar to other businesses, there seems to be no sign of reviving for the entertainment industry, at least soon. Goa, the favourite destination on the international tourism map, is struggling to cope up with the pandemic. The tourist season is about to begin in October, but with restrictions on the operations of hotels, restaurants, air travel, theatres, music festivals and other entertainment events, Goa seems to be staring at a blank future as far as 2020 is concerned. In the backdrop of the pandemic, have some of the prime festivals and popular events that mark the yearly calendar in Goa, including the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Serendipity, Carnival, GALF, Festival of Ideas, marathons, bike weeks, fashion shows and EDMs that attract not only the domestic but also international crowd, paused? Or is the government planning to open out the doors of the State for these regular events that bring in sizable footfalls, and which cater to the local businesses?

Given the unprecedented situation, the popular electronic dance music (EDM) festival, Sunburn, that rocks the last week of Goa's December, awaits a green signal from the State government, sources have revealed. Though officially, it is not yet declared whether the event will happen at the end of the year 2020. To clear the air, 'The Goan' spoke to the organiser, Harindra Singh, Chairman & Managing director of Percept Ltd.
 
Admitting that the situation all over the world is grave, especially for the entertainment industry, Harindra Singh disclosed, “Indeed, we have applied for permission to have Sunburn 2020 and are looking forward to the response from the Goa government. However, even if we get a ‘green’ signal at this point of time, I must admit that in the present circumstances, it will be very difficult to organise a mega event within such a short period. If permitted, we will oblige and plan for a smaller event, observing all norms and conditions required to be followed during the Covid-19 crisis."
 
Harindra further added, "But yes, we are planning for the event well in advance, even if it happens later, as it takes meticulous scheduling of the dates, travel itinerary of the celebrities, singers and performers. We don't know when the pandemic will be over, but we must be prepared to perform at the first best opportunity that approaches.”
 
Pointing out that Sunburn is Asia’s largest music festival and regularly held in the last week of December yearly, Harindra says that Covid-19 has put a dampener on all events and the question remains unanswered whether and if, such events would take place in Goa or anywhere in the country soon. However, considering that the pandemic is here to stay at least for the next couple of months, can we afford to put on hold life, asks Harindra.
 
“It is for us to see that life is rebooted, albeit, in a manner that’s safe and secure for all. There are examples of events and festivals across the globe that are slowly returning. Can we look at holding Sunburn in Goa, adopting a combination of precautionary measures, including testing, social distancing, temperature checks, sanitisation, cleaning and screening of the venue?” asks Harindra.
 
Pointing out that in India, the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) has recently released a list of SOPs for conducting events which have been meticulously planned taking into account guidelines issued by the government and multiple global associations, Harindra expresses hope that restarting events would kick-start the economy and tourism industry, especially for a state like Goa, that is solely dependent on tourism after the mining industry stopped operating.
 
Given a nod to have Sunburn, the organisers assure of sticking to stringent norms and protocols related to venue cleaning, hygiene, attendee management. The question here remains how long can Goa wait to open its door to the tourists who bring in revenue to the State exchequer.