‘Sunburn’ Asia’s biggest electronic music festival returns back to its homeland Goa from 27th -29th December 2019, yet again to give the audiences three sprawling days of house, EDM and pop on Vagator Beach. This year’s line up will include Martin Garrix, Afrojack, The ChainSmokers and many more…
Karan Singh, COO, Percept Live talks about his musical tastes, selecting artists to bring in new concepts to expand the Brand ‘Sunburn’, Experiences at Sunburn Goa 2019, and flying down global artists Wiz Khalifa and Amanda to multicity tours in India in an interesting conversation with loudest.in
Talking about his musical tastes and how they have evolved over time Singh says, “Being a 90s kid I grew up listening to all music that was popular during the 90s like Brayan Adams, Backstreet boys. Eventually, my tastes have changed over the years in the last decade especially as now I prefer to listen to different genres of music like pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Rock bands like Oasis being the favorite of mine in the growing up days.”
Looking at the current rage of hip hop growing, where are the current trends going, Singh says, “Hip Hop has always been popular with the youth and we too just brought Wiz Khalifa for a two-city tour to India. For us, any international music which the youth listens to matters because our target audience is clearly well defined. Although EDM and electronic music is the main stage for Sunburn, it doesn’t have to be limited to that.”
Rap superstar Wiz Khalifa on a two-city Sunburn Arena showcase in Mumbai and Delhi over the weekend, drew a reported 10,000 revelers in each city. The performance showcased the rap in full swing in styles ranging from raucous gangster songs with the naughtiest of rap party narratives to tempered, pop-friendly artistry against visually arresting sets.
Commenting on the response to the American Rapper, Singh states, “We are extremely pleased with the stellar response we garnered for the tour and we would definitely like to bring in more hip-hop acts into India 2020. Percept Live once again delivered a state-of-the-art spectacle owing to the ever-increasing popularity of the Sunburn brand.”
Sunburn coming back to Goa this year, features Martin Garrix, The ChainSmokers along with an exotic line up of artists at Sunburn Goa, a must to attend for all electronic music enthusiasts.
So, What takes it to select the artist’s and bands for the grand electronic music fiesta, Singh says, “Sunburn has been primarily an electronic dance music festival in which we have brought down many artists to India for the first time. Over the years we have also helped to build the artist profiles, as we have long standing relationships with them. Today, we have a history with many of these artists and we know what each of these artists demands when we bring them to India. Of course artist selection is also based on the current research like trending tracks of the artists, their popularity, and fan base in the market. We also do an art survey each year of their fans and we have a database of about 10000 fans who participate in the survey. In fact, we have collected a lot of data from these surveys to know audiences choices and who would they prefer to see.”
Joining the company at the age of 26 after getting an MBA from Havard and a Bachelor’s in management, Singh talks about how was it taking Sunburn to the next level, “I think at that time the management had understood that Sunburn has a lot more potential as it was really able to pick up in the industry. That’s when we created an independent team for Sunburn wherein we were really focused on this particular property. We planned to expand Sunburn beyond the Goa festival. We first started ‘Sunburn Arena’ which had top artist ‘Da Vinci’ in December 2011, which happens to be one of the very special shows that we had done.”
Highlighting on Sunburn 2019 experiences Singh says, “This year we are going back to Goa after 3 years and that makes it a very important year for us. We are expecting massive numbers exceeding more than 50,000 participants this year since the announcement has been huge. There will be a lot of new experiences this year, as different genres of electronic music will be showcased like Commercial, House, Techno, Trans, Live Electronica and many more. We will be having an entire curated flea market experience and adventure activities, along with a lot of food experiences for the visitors. We feel that people spend a lot of time with us like 7-8 hours per day, so we want to give them different experiences and activities where they can come and take part in.”
Talking about creating digital Content and Brand Partnerships for ‘Sunburn 2019’, “We create a lot of content with a lot of brands which work very closely with Sunburn. The large part of those partnerships is creating the right content, which reaches out to millions of people online. This year our key partners are Kingfisher, Magic Moments, Zee5, Fast Track, Sky bags, while Toyota, Red Bull, and Spicejet are our continuing partners. We have also partnered with VOOT for the first time. We have a tie-up with ZEE5 and will live stream the festival. We do a lot of co-branded campaigns around Sunburn to come up with ideas to pitch the audiences which are interested in Sunburn or engaging the audience who already follow the festival on social media or when live.”
Talking about exploring with different genres, “The only place, where we can do different genres, is ‘Sunburn Goa’ where we have 5 different stages and over 100 performing artists, which has mostly electronic genres. I feel that there are many different niches and there are followers for everything and at the right level things can be done across genres and every single experience does not need to be 12000 people.”
Sunburn Campus created a stir amongst the college-goers across the country. Talking about its inception Singh says, “We started off with ‘Sunburn Campus’ and were the first to go in the college campus market and are still strongest in colleges. We have covered 51 colleagues last year across India from IITs, IIMs, BITS. We collaborate with existing college festivals where we take over one night, which we call as ‘Sunburn Campus.’
On exploring with different genres Singh says, “Yes we have had some live music like Clean Bandit performing in ‘Sunburn’ as one of the headliners in Pune. We are looking at showcasing a couple of different artists in Goa line up as well as we are getting Khalifa down, but at the same time out focus on electronic music will definitely remain as we are coming up with some big tours in the electronic space as well. Honestly, even in electronic music, there is a lot of experimentation which is possible.”
Sharing plans for the festive season Singh says, “During the festive season in November this year we have a major 4 city tour with ‘Amanda’ who’s one of the top artists and is coming back to India after a long time. We are coming up with brands to come up with co-branded campaigns and content around this tour. Along with this during the festive season, we will be having a lot of advertising and promotions for the main ‘Sunburn Goa’ festival. ”
Talking about the key challenges that the event organizers face today Singh said, “Venues are a big challenge in India as compared to western markets, where there are many venues geared for the music concerts, while here the entire construction had to be done, also licensing and Permissions issues are a lot more complex here.I think financially it’s a very challenging industry because the tax rates are high while the tickets prices in India are much lower as compared to the rest of the world. So it’s not just about making ends meet but making sure that we build a sustainable business model.”
Talking about other interesting concepts and IPs like EPL Singh says, “Well EPL comes under Percept live, which is a food festival but has music, art and lot of live acts, which was first held at the racecourse in Mumbai wherein we got Lucky Ali, Ayushman Khurana. We have a property called ‘Bolly Boom’ which showcases Bollywood and Punjabi Music. The event is a no brainer for India, as everyone loves them as the most popular genres. We did a 7 city tour with ‘Guru Randhawa’ which turned out to be very successful and are doing more cities with him and a couple of other artists. We have taken a lot of experience from Sunburn in terms of production that we do and are replicating it in different cities.”
Talking about the idea of coming up with new concepts in the field of sports Singh says, “ Historically sports has been an intrinsic part of the organization and we have worked with different corporates who are interested in working within the space. So we have tried to support boxing, Martial Arts in the past and cricket have always been on the mainstream. We are working on the ‘Windsong’ adventure festival which is a niche drive away concept which is like an escape for people from cities. People can pack their bags and go away for a weekend as the festival is usually kept at a drivable distance from Mumbai. There are a lot of activities like camping, adventure, different kind of artists and a lot of fun.”
So how the company sees its growth Singh tells, “Well India is a massive country and so we have been taking Sunburn to more cities. In the last couple of years, we have seen Hyderabad coming up, which is a new strong market for us. The growth will come from continuing to expand the festival and tapping the concert market in different cities across the country and also expanding in terms of experimenting with different genres. We have been growing at about 30% a year for the last couple of years. We have been the biggest in this space and we have to keep going with our strengths as we see a lot of potential and room to grow in this industry!