Battle of the Beats
The competition between electronic music festivals kicks off this month and here’s what is in store
December, for the last few years, has usually been that time of the year when India’s electronic music scene becomes a bit like a TV drama – one festival [allegedly] steals another festival’s ideas, they fight over artists and venues. Even the politicians in Goa get in on the game with some public figure or the other ruing the circus that comes to town.
But this year, it looks like it’s been a fair, clean fight among the likes of Sunburn, VH1 Supersonic and Bacardi Enchanted Valley Carnival, who are all vying for crowds from across the country and the Mumbai/Pune region, specifically. Among the headliners are DJs making their annual stop in India, now fairly well-established as a mandatory stop on most DJs’ tour schedules.
Sunburn is bringing back the likes of David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Aly & Fila and Bass Jackers, while Tiesto returns to India to perform at Bacardi Enchanted Valley Carnival in Aamby Valley township near Pune. VH1 Supersonic, on the other hand, has been delivering with more of their Arcade gigs this year, booking dubstep star Skrillex and calling back UK trance group Above & Beyond on tours. At the time of going to print, it looks like they’re still biding their time with the full lineup.
Adding to the alternative end of the electronic music spectrum this month are Magnetic Fields Festival in Rajasthan [December 18th to 20th], headlined by Brooklyn electronica group Ratatat and Detroit electronic musician Shigeto and Johnnie Walker The Journey in Mumbai [December 12th], featuring ambient/electro/rock artist Tycho and electronic music veteran Giorgio Moroder. Whether you’re the rave-happy basshead or a fan of experimental and crossover electronic music, there’s plenty on offer this month in the country.
December 27th – 30th
Headline Clout/Hipster Cred: The four-day festival will feature headlining sets by UK garage/house duo Disclosure, Swedish house producer Axwell and his techno counterpart Adam Beyer, among others. Other confirmed artists include rising EDM producers like Bart Skils from Holland, Don Diabolo from the Netherlands, L.A. house DJ Deorro and Canadian drum and bass/house duo Zeds Dead.
Local Flavor: In a marketing gimmick of sorts, this year, Supersonic organisers got a few lucky potential revellers to reveal the lineup. The only Indian act revealed so far is Arjun Vagale. Like last year, you can expect fantastic themed stages, a beautiful food court and an activity zone.
Damages: General admission – Rs 6,096 (season pass), Rs 10,482 (couples season pass); VIP – Rs 10,000 (single person season pass), Rs 17,193 (couples season pass).
Bacardi Enchanted Valley Carnival
December 18th – 20th
Headline Clout/Hipster Cred: EVC, now a joint venture with Universal Music Group South Asia, scales up with one of the world’s top-rated DJs, Tiesto and UK producer Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim. A week prior to the Goa takeover, EVC played their cards first – announcing their headliners nearly a month before Sunburn and Supersonic. Other big names include psychedelic producer Simon Posford playing a Shpongle DJ set.
Local Flavor: There’s big guns like bass producer Nucleya, techno producer Arjun Vagale and EDM duo Lost Stories who’ll be representing India on the multinational festival lineup. Unlike the rest, EVC also curates a ‘live’ stage and this year, they’ve got everyone from alt/prog rockers Coshish to world/fusion act Achint, acoustic artist Dhruv Visvanath and more.
Damages: General admission: Rs 3,999 (day pass); Rs 6,820 (season pass); VIP: Rs 12,400 (season pass). Camping at the festival ranges from Rs 6,640 (bring your own tent) to Rs 98,644 for a luxury four-person tent.
December 27th – 30th
Headline Clout/Hipster Cred: Organizers Percept India have been slacking a bit in the game, with Supersonic taking the lead with shows all around the year. But given the strong following they have, Sunburn has brought in David Guetta and Martin Garrix to headline, along with a host of techno, deep house and psy acts. American house and techno DJ Seth Troxler’s India show is one of the bigger pulls that might just attract hipsters to even remotely consider the Sunburn experience of thousands of party animals by the beach, but then again it’s mostly an all-out commercial EDM affair, with the main stage also featuring the India debut of house producer KSHMR.
Local Flavor: There isn’t much different on offer compared to previous editions of Sunburn, with the likes of Dualist Inquiry, Anish Sood and Progressive Brothers taking over the main stages, while psytrance producer Jehan Johar aka Janux takes on the psy stage. /further, Sunburn’s own golden child Shaan Singh also has a stage all to himself to party with his friends, aptly called Shaan & Friends.
Damages: Student – Rs 9,000 (season pass); General admission -Rs 11,200 (season pass); Rs 2,800-3,400 (early entry day pass); Rs 4,500-5,500 (regular day pass); VIP – Rs 18,500 (season pass).