November 2019 – Goa Sunsplash is India’s largest celebration of reggae music and culture and has since its debut in 2016 become a much-loved event on the festival circuit. The festival will be held at Riva Beach Resort, Mandrem from January 10 to 12.
The emphasis for Goa Sunsplash as a festival is to offer a holistic lifestyle and cultural experience that reflects the reggae ethos and help spread awareness of the principles that the reggae movement was founded upon. The only festival in India to focus exclusively on reggae and its sub-genres, the festival has been instrumental in bolstering the reach of the reggae community in India, and one of the reasons behind’s the festival’s reason to become a three-day festival.
Performances for the January 10-12 festival are split across three distinct spaces – Arambol Grove, the largest stage where audiences are treated to live bands and iconic performers; Lions Den – powered by the hand-built 10,000 Lions Sound System – which will host selectors and MCs, and Mandrem Verandah, which overlooks the Arabian Sea and will see DJs keep the party going till 10 pm every night.
Goa Sunsplash 2020 line-up
The festival over the years has hosted many reggae legends – like Anthony B and Channel One Soundsystem in 2019, The Mad Professor in 2018 – and 2020 is no different.
Video announcing the first wave of names for Goa Sunsplash can be seen here
One of Britain’s most influential reggae singers, Macka B is a veteran with more than 19 albums to his name. A practising Rastaman and a long-time collaborator with Mad Professor, his music is based around the political and spiritual message of the religion, while bringing elements from other branches of reggae like roots and dub.
While reggae fans are familiar with his music and insanely unique delivery, the world at large was introduced to him through his “Medical Mondays” web-series where he shared his ever-growing knowledge of bodily health and veganism. One of the episodes – where he raps on the health benefits of cucumbers – “Cucumba” went viral, racking up millions of views.
The first all-female reggae sound system in Australasia, Housewife’s Choice will make its debut in Goa this year. Firm favourites and a mainstay of the Australian reggae and dancehall scene, one half of Housewife’s Choice – Bellyas – played one of the first Reggae Rajahs parties back in 2009, and now returns with her partner Miss Fee to play their signature high-spirited style.
The Turbans are a British-based fusion band whose “music from manywhere” switches from the Balkans to the Middle East and from flamenco to North Africa. The members of The Turbans features musicians with roots in Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Greece, Spain, and England, and their high-octane music draws on Balkan, klezmer, Gypsy, Greek, Turkish and African beats, styles, sounds and instruments. They bring a passionate spirit of adventure and an infectious liveliness to their music – something audiences around the world can vouch for.
London-based Earl Gateshead is a name most reggae heads around the familiar with. His series, ‘Reggae Nights’ at the now-defunct Plastic People received worldwide attention and Earl was the first reggae DJ to play at Fabric, The Ministry of Sound and Space in Ibiza, probably the world’s three greatest nightclubs. Interestingly, mysterious graffiti artist, Banksy asked Earl to DJ the first three exhibitions of his work – still the only DJ that Banksy has ever worked with. A true ambassador of roots reggae, Earl Gateshead is also a Goa Sunsplash ambassador – with 2020 his third appearance at the festival.
Another name that’s bound to get reggae heads excited is O.B.F (Original Bass Foundation) & Charlie P. OBF are one of the most respected soundsystems out of France, known for the intensity of their tunes and energy and they come to Goa with English MC and their long-time collaborator, Charlie P of the Scottish dub reggae crew, Mungo’s Hi-Fi fame.
There is always a wide variety of styles from all around the world representing reggae and its different sub-genres at Goa Sunsplash – like London-based DJ and Evolution of Dub radio show host Ambassador; Jamaican entertainer TweeGeddo; London-based Sicilian selector and label owner Roots Sensation; flying the flag high for South African reggae will be ThuliThulz and Larry T; American reggae act Jah-Sun and The Rising Tide; prolific bass music producer Su Real; Mumbai-based reggae and hip-hop outfit Bombay Bassment; Indian reggae act from the Northeast, Small Axe and up-and-coming Mumbai-based R&B and jazz outfit Kimochi Youkai.
There are also a few artists without which Goa Sunsplash wouldn’t be the festival it is – Hyderabad-based DJ and radio presenter Dakta Dub; Goa-based French selector Rudy Roots; rising star of the French reggae scene, Naaman – who has played every edition of Goa Sunsplash – and the festival’s own, 10,000 Lions Sound System.
It’s not just music that people have to look forward to. Like last year, there will be a dancehall camp before the festival, followed by a showcase at Goa Sunsplash. The instructors for the dancehall camp with Smash Dem Crew are Dance Expressionz founders and well-known global ambassadors of dancehall culture, Orville Xpressionz (The Professor) and Shelly Xpressionz. Dance Expressionz is the first dancehall institution in Jamaica and offers the first-ever accredited course in the history of the genre. In another first for India, at Goa Sunsplash 2020 there will be a dancehall battle and competition at the camp.
The lure of Goa’s beaches and sunny weather lends itself beautifully to reggae, and the festival wants to do its best to reduce its environmental impact as much as it can. Following up on its initiative to introduce reusable cups at the festival in 2019, the fifth edition will see a collaboration with ‘CarryYourOwnBottle’ a local Goan initiative which helps eliminate the sale of plastic bottles at the venue. Plans are also afoot to organise a beach clean-up in Mandrem ahead of the festival. More details can be found on www.goasunsplash.com.
When: 10-12 January 2020
Timings: 12 noon to 10 pm, everyday
Where: Riva Beach Resort, Mandrem, Goa, India
Genres: Reggae/ Dub/ Dancehall/ World Music
Tickets available at: https://www.goasunsplash.com/