Percept in the News

From experiment, to a rage, to a movement
23 December, 2014

Vice chairman and Managing Director of Percept Ltd and the guiding star of Sunburn, Harindra Singh, has done this seven times over. He is back for the 8th edition of one of the world’s best EDM festivals. Vice chairman and Managing Director of Percept Ltd and the guiding star of Sunburn, Harindra Singh, has done this seven times over. He is back for the 8th edition of one of the world’s best EDM festivals. He spoke to Herald on the eve of this year’s Sunburn.
How has Sunburn grown as a festival? The kind of turn out it’s has been seeing over the years?
The idea of an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festival, even a music festival, has long been a dream of those trying to push the music scene in India. With Bollywood’s stranglehold on people musically, this has been tough. Many events and festivals were planned, some were held, but basically nobody was willing to show any sustained long-term commitment. So Percept decided to push the envelope and launch the IP ‘Sunburn’ on the beaches of Goa over 6 years ago. In 2007, Sunburn was an experiment. By 2009, it became a rage. By 2010 Sunburn became a movement. In 2011, Sunburn was the pride of a nation. 1,00,000 fans, 120 artists, 7 stages across two acres of land, and 2 million people across 100 countries watching us live on YouTube. In 2012, the Sunburn Festival witnessed 120,000 fans descend from every part of the globe and groove to the best DJ’s from around the world at Goa. By 2013, all records were surpassed as 150,000 visitors attended Sunburn Goa! Sunburn has become a brand that’s larger than life and now extends beyond just a three day fest in December in Goa.
How has the festival benefitted the brands attached with it over the years? Has there been an increase in advertisers or has the festival has stagnated?
Sunburn has offered a blend of experiential and technology, based on activities along with a mix of online and on ground marketing for all the brands associated with us over the past years. Brands have definitely opened their eyes to new media marketing opportunities and the sponsorship space is opening up. As of today more and more Indian brands are expressing a desire to associate with Sunburn through engaging ground & digital activities that add to both the brand and the customer experience at Sunburn. In 2014, Sunburn (brand) has done 212 events in 78 cities across India. Sunburn Goa, Dec 27-29 is the most apt conclusion to the most outstanding Season 8.As much as any marketer would think the number of brands were a tad much, our objective was to open doors and prove that this property is the best when it comes to giving an of its associates the right visibility and to the appropriate target group/s. From its humble beginnings in 2007 with Smirnoff, Carlsberg and Force India as sponsors  It would be fair to say that advertiser interest has increased steadily over the years. The growth in interest has been two fold, organic and inorganic in terms of number of brands participating as well as the level of interest and/or investment. This is also relative to the number of people that attend the event. The more the captive audience, the more value we can deliver to a brand beyond the conventional media & promotional initiatives.
With the competition cropping up, has the popularity decreased? If not then can you substantiate it?
Globally, music lovers expect to get engaged with the music that is completely out of the box and is extremely different from the one they have been listening to. Sunburnites will want to experience a lot more than just the music that they have come to attend. Keeping that in mind, the Sunburn brand started expanding from its musical roots into the burgeoning lifestyle space. The popularity of Brand Sunburn translated into the roll out of Sunburn merchandise 3 years ago. We were so encouraged by the success of our merchandise sales in 2010 that we extended the Sunburn franchise further and launched an entire range of Sunburn branded lifestyle products this year. These products will be available all year round online as well as at our mini-tours, events and festivals. The product range will encompass apparel, accessories, F&B, online, gaming and many more across categories. We’re also looking at expanding into pre-existing retail distribution. Sunburn Merchandise is already available and will encompass a whole host of lifestyle spaces with brand extensions & associations across apparel, accessories, F&B, online, gaming and many more across categories to enable fans to take back a piece of the music fest memory as also keep the experience alive in their minds 365 days a year.
Sunburn will also become a platform to create star performers.
Further brand extensions will include Sunburn Club Lounges, Sunburn Talent, Music Record and Video Labels, Sunburn Records, Sunburn Radio, and a Sunburn Television property. Sunburn is now valued at over a $ 100 – 150 million and is projected as a home grown brand that’s making waves the world over. It’s a constant evolution, trial and error process, reinvention and creation. We are extremely excited with the evolution and growth of this Fest so far and super charged with the many plans that we have in store for Sunburn both in Goa and across the world in the coming years!
Expected turnout for Sunburn this year in Goa?  What’s new at Sunburn? Expectations on advertiser interest?
1The new world #2 DJs & Kings of Tomorrowland – Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, make their Sunburn Goa debut and will be closing the main stage with a power packed performance.
2 The legends of electronic music Paul Oakenfold and Sasha are making their festival debut in India with Sunburn Goa 2014.
3 Sunburn believes in Women Empowerment as they bring the best female DJs/producers to Sunburn – Emma Hewitt, Krewella, Francesca Lombardo AloWala, Sandunes, & many more
Sunburn has now matured into a holiday destination for fans and Bollywood celebs with several big stars expected at the upcoming edition in Goa.  Sunburn has had a minimum 40% growth YOY in the number of attendees and more than 100% from 2012 to 2013.
Sunburn is now international proposition how has the success helped in the growth of the company?
Sunburn has always stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to International standards of technology and music. We as a company has consciously chosen select brands to associate with while Sunburn offered a blend of marketing tools and novel brand integration ideas that have been impactful in brand positioning. The audience comprises fans from across the globe and the festival is streamed live to over 200 countries, which adds further international exposure to the brands associated with Sunburn. Also there is an immediate rub-off in terms of brand imagery as Sunburn is very much positioned and perceived today as a world class music festival in the country, be it in terms of line-up, artists, production, experience, etc. Sunburn is now branched out to mini-events in leading metros and have also entered international markets, What are the further plans with the brand Sunburn?
Sunburn is a brand build by the fans & for the fans. There is a massive audience across the country that can’t make it to Goa in December for various reasons; hence Team Sunburn thought everyone should get a piece of the Sunburn experience and we planned to go to cities across India.  The first –ever city centric festival was launched in April, 2012 in Mumbai with a 3-day format and 2 stages active at the same time, allowing attendees to enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience.