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Sun, beach and music

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Goa’s gets bigger and louder.

Walking amidst the 46,000-odd fans at the Sunburn festival last year, Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of Percept, the organiser, encountered a young man wishing to speak with him personally. “My girlfriend in Lisbon could not be here due to visa issues. I want to propose to her,” he said. Twenty minutes later, the Sunburn team recorded his proposal and shared it with his girlfriend through YouTube. She accepted within minutes.

Inspired by the incident, Pictures has partnered with social networking website Google+ and YouTube to create a user-generated feature film, capturing his/her journey during the three-day electronic dance and music (EDM) festival in that boasts of being the largest in Asia. Similar to Ridley Scott’s film Life In Day (a crowd-sourced documentary featuring a series of video clips selected from the 80,000 clips submitted to YouTube, showing different events from across the globe, within a single day), Sunburnt is what Singh calls a “fan’s film”.

“The movie will be the depiction of the festival in nine minutes through the eyes of a fan,” says Singh. The entries submitted on YouTube will be selected, compiled and edited to create a 90-minute film.

Being marketed as a “glocal” festival, Sunburn has expanded almost threefold since last year. The number of stages is up from three to seven with over 90 artists performing different styles of EDM. Spread over 20 acres at the Candolim beach, the festival will see several new performers such as Pete Tong, Gabriel & Dresden, Perfect Stranger, Laughing Buddha and Rae. And, for the first time festival regulars, Indian fusion group Midival Punditz will be curating a live stage for young EDM performers. “The idea is to give a platform to young performers to strut their stuff live,” says Gaurav Raina, one of the Punditz.

In its first year (2007), the festival ran into losses of over a crore. This time around, with an investment of around Rs 30 crore, Percept expects to make a profit of at least 30 per cent. Though the title sponsor is undecided yet, it has tied up with “supportive sponsors” such as Lenovo and 7up.

Ticket sales are robust and some of the ‘early bird passes’ — tickets booked in advance — have already sold out, informs Sunburn’s e-ticketing partner, BookMyShow. The festival expects a crowd of around 100,000 — more than double of last year. How do they plan on managing this crowd? “Pepper spray!” jokes Raina. “You will be surprised... Sunburn fans are very peaceful. There is no angry outburst or unlawful act,” stresses Singh. “I remember running into Mani Shankar Aiyar and Rajdeep Sardesai at the festival last year, enjoying electronica.”

While air ticket prices to Goa will escalate come December, the festival has found other ways to reach fans. Sunburn will be broadcast live on YouTube across 120 countries this year. One can also watch moments from the festival on MTV and UTV Bindaas.

“My wife once asked me what’s so special about Sunburn,” says Singh. After attending it for four years, she found the answer. “It’s music without lyrics! Everyone can enjoy it.”


(The fifth Sunburn festival will be held at Goa between December 27 and 29)

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