The stage is set, the sound checks done and the few remaining tickets are selling out fast. As Sunburn, Goa’s popular three-day electronic dance music festival, prepares to kick off on Tuesday, it’s hit a new high — at least 40% of the 65,000 attendees will be foreigners.
Foreign footfalls have increased from 30% in 2007 to 38% in 2010 and 40% this year, says Shailendra Singh, joint managing director with Percept India, the public relations agency behind the five-year-old festival celebrated annually at Goa’s picturesque Candolim beach. “Last year, 18,000 of the 46,500 attendees were foreigners. This year, that number has risen to 26,000. Some of them are turning into Sunburn loyalists.” Most of the foreign participants, says Singh, are from Europe and the Middle East.
For most foreigners, an eclectic line-up of local and international artists, combined with a pleasant weather, good food, and usual celebratory mood around New Year act as a major pull.
German engineer Sebastian Luetke, 28, and his girlfriend are attending the festival, which concludes on Thursday, along with four other friends. The German troupe flew to Goa on Sunday for the event. This is Luetke’s second time. He attended Sunburn last year along with a few friends from Mumbai. “I am totally into music, especially house music,” says Luetke in an email interview.
For him, the pleasant December weather in Goa only serves as an add-on.
Also attending for the second year in a row is Victor Boyer, 20, a student from Paris. Boyer learnt about the festival last year through a friend who happened to be touring Goa while Sunburn was on. He bought last-minute tickets, attended and returned to Paris full of praise for the festival.
In terms of artists, Luetke is looking forward to the music of DJ Jerome Isma–Ae from Munich, Pete Tong from the UK and American singer Brute Force. A total of 96 artists are participating in the festival this year.
Jason Snow, a 22-year-old theatre artist from London, is familiar with the music of Indian electronic dance music groups such as Shaa’ir and Func and Jalebee Cartel. “I am looking forward to their performances,” says Snow.