What goes behind Sunburn Music Festival

New Delhi, Dec 25, 2019-

From 5,000 people over two days at Sunburn Goa 2007, Sunburn Music Festival has expanded into a multi-city and multi-country affair with over 850,000 fans turning up for Sunburn through 2018-19.

But organising an event of such grandeur is not easy. There are multiple challenges at various levels which have to be dealt with to make the event successful.

There have been misunderstandings about the festival which lead to protests and opposition from local quarters. The limited venue and infrastructural availability, the nascent ticketing market, multiple permissions required with the process of holding the event which differs in different state make it all the more difficult to navigate.

Karan Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Percept Live, which owns and manages the festival, explains it in details and shares more about the festival scheduled on December 27 at Vagator, Goa on December 27.

What are the major challenges you face when organising an event of such level?

Singh: Doing music events in this country is extremely challenging. Given the sheer size and scale of the Sunburn Festival, the venue and destination also plays a key role. Festivals are usually destination events and are planned around a suitable destination so as to enable the growth of the festival as also mutually beneficial to the location, local economy and the state. It’s an uphill task given the limited venue and infrastructural availability and we have to build most of it from scratch.

Our biggest challenge is that often people misunderstand what it is we are trying to execute, which leads to protests and opposition from local quarters. Then it becomes our responsibility to educate and demonstrate what we truly represent – a colossal, open, collaborative, engaging platform for the Youth of India to connect, engage and just be themselves.

Music fests like Sunburn encourage a �healthy social’ experience. Our aim is to encourage people to come out of their homes, get off their couches, take their fingers off their phone’s keypad and TV remote controls, forget about the office workload and have a good time outdoors. Because that’s what being truly social is all about.

The safety of our fans is and always has been our main priority. We work closely with all the authorities to ensure we have all safety measures in place. We also have a �Zero Tolerance Policy’ to drugs and ensure no banned substances enter the festival zone.

India still faces many challenges in organizing live music festivals. There are multiple permissions required, with the process differing in each state, making it all the more difficult to navigate.

India is also not a mature ticketing market either, and event promoters still rely heavily on sponsorship. Most cities don’t have proper venues and infrastructure, so music festival organizers have to literally build the festival from scratch.

How has the festival grown over the years?
Singh: Over 13 years, Sunburn has grown and evolved into one of the world’s biggest music brands. From 5,000 people over two days at Sunburn Goa 2007, the festival has expanded into a multi-city and multi-country affair with over 850,000 fans turning up for Sunburn through 2018-19. We introduced the country to EDM and are the only dance music brand to have sustained and grown consistently over the past 13 years.

Innovation across all parameters is key to our growth and success. At Sunburn, fans get an opportunity to listen to the best international line-up of global and domestic artistes, participate in contests and win an exciting once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet their favourite local and international iconic artistes backstage. There is always something in store for all festival goers.

How have you seen the music scene in India growing?
Singh: The live music festival domain has grown in popularity and is today the one-stop music destination of the millennial. India is one of the world’s largest music markets and holds great potential in the live music domain. With 1.3 billion music lovers, a large youth population and strong economic growth, India offers a promising destination for music festivals and events. Social media and live streaming has further enabled audience awareness and growth in this domain.

I see the live music industry growing at a massive pace in 2019-20 provided festival organizers engage actively with their audiences and continuously reinvent their brand and associated experiences basis what’s trending. Festival promoters must stay focused on all aspects of the experience spanning content programming, stage visuals, SFX, production, F&B, fan experience, safety, security & cleanliness. Only by delivering a holistic good experience will organizers be able to build the live music space.

How has audience changed over time?
Singh: India has a massive vibrant and cosmopolitan youth populace with a fan following that adores all genres and styles of music. Fan’s tastes and expectations across India are very wide and shift rapidly across geographies and timelines. We therefore keep shifting the needle depending on how consumer tastes are evolving.

It’s changed a lot from 13 years ago and we rapidly keep changing the pace of the acts. We stay focused on the 18 to 25 age bracket and follow a very scientific online exercise to monitor and study music preferences, what’s shared, and what videos are trending. That’s how we pick and program our selections.

Keeping the dynamism of our audiences pan India, and digital penetration speeding up changing consumer tastes and preferences, we have designed products exclusively targeted at each audience segment and music genre.

We launched FLY Music Festival with the iconic ED Sheeran and we have many more plans for 2020. At Percept Live, we shift the needle and curate our offerings basis what’s trending and popular with our audiences over time.  (Agency)

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