After a three-year gap, Sunburn Festival returns to electronic music’s sacred turf in Goa
SOME SAY THAT basslines sync with the waves on the subtropical paradise of Goa. The nation’s sunshine state has always been a hearthstone of the global dance music scene, a far cry from the dark warehouse parties in Chicago. A place where the embers of psychedelic sounds flickered into existence—traced back to the late ’70s when open-air gatherings occurred under coconut tree canopies on surf-combed beaches.
The second ‘Summer of Love’ may have come and gone, along with the hordes of Bohemian ‘love children’, however, it is undeniable that a small Konkan coast festival called Sunburn recreated those long-absent vibes centred around ‘Live. Love. Dance’ back in 2007. During the decade that followed, electronic music found itself jostling for space on chart-topping lists alongside pop bigwigs; DJs ventured out on world tours, and every major fete roped in at least one dance music headliner.
India didn’t wait long to capitalise on this trend and jump on board this bandwagon either. Its current event landscape is chock-full of hundreds of fiestas. So, how difficult is it for a legacy gathering like Sunburn to make sure it stands apart, despite being consistently ranked amongst the top 10 festivals in the world? We interact with Karan Singh, the COO of Percept Live, an initiative that owns Sunburn, to find out more.
Ahead of the curve
“Over the years, Sunburn has grown and evolved into one of the world’s biggest music brands. From 5,000 people over two days during the first edition, the gala has expanded into a multi-city, multi-country affair with millions of fans turning up for Sunburn through 2018-19,” claims Karan, elaborating, “This success can be attributed to a lot of hard work, innovation, experimentation, R&D, embracing the latest of global technology, and other tangible factors. We don’t rely on spreadsheets for artiste selections either. We interact with our crowd, listen to and embrace their feedback to improvise and keep evolving. We give them what they want, not what we want.”
The event is not without its nay-sayers though. Over the years, several issues with local authorities led to the jamboree shifting its base to Pune for three years. Aficionados still flocked to the extravaganza, yet many took to social media later to express how they missed the abundance of the Goan sun and sand. Thankfully, 2019 marks a return to dancing in front of legendary artistes like Flume and Fedde Le Grand, performing on stages set against the backdrop of the Arabian Sea.
“We have constantly broken the mould and introduced newer formats. Now, it’s a surreal feeling to reach the 13th-anniversary milestone this December and to be back in Goa....the birthplace of Sunburn,” shares Karan.
Cream of the crop
Even if someone is completely new to electronic music or is not particularly interested in the genre, this is an alluring calendar fixture. This one-of-a-kind immersive gathering has now evolved to become an eclectic unique mix of art, camping, adventure, online and offline engagements.
“There’s a mind-boggling mix of recreational activities to keep everyone happy—from the adrenaline junkie to the tattoo enthusiast. Be it bungee jumping, wooden bouldering, beach volleyball, soapy football, zipline, mechanical bull, rock climbing, yoga and Zumba workshops, tattoo stalls or more,” concludes the organiser.
This time, they’ve even gone all out to charter a special flight, by teaming up with Spice Jet, from Mumbai to Goa. This annual gathering is truly more than just the sum total of headliners on its line-up and the grandiose scale of its picturesque venue—Sunburn is an experience.
During the event, a slew of afterparties will crop up post 10 pm at nine venues around the festival site including Hammerzz, Las Olas, Owl, Re: Fresh, Sunburn Beach Lounge, LR Beach Lounge, Antares, and Plan B.
A wide range of artistes performing till 3 am will keep you on your toes in case you don’t wish to kill the non-stop party mood! Also, don’t miss the official hi-end luxurious afterparty for those with VIP passes in the Lounge by W Goa at Rockpool.
Sunburn Festival will be held from December 27-29 at Vagator, Goa.
Tickets available online.