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Festival Review: Sensation Rise 2018, Hyderabad

A sea of people dressed in white, top-notch EDM acts and more marked the second edition of the day-long music festival

David Britto Oct 31, 2018

The sea of fans at Sensation Rise -- which looked quite foamy when you consider that everyone attending the festival has to be dressed in white.

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If you ever wondered what it is like to be part of a cult, attending EDM music festival Sensation Rise 2018 at Hyderabad’s Gachibowli Stadium this past weekend would have given you an idea. But more on that later. The music festival, which made its debut in 2016 courtesy of Budweiser Experiences, returned for its second edition at the stadium on October 27th.

On the day of the festival, we arrived at the Sheraton Hyderabad which was transformed by Budweiser into their very own ‘The Bud Hotel’ with branding of the American beer giant plastered all over the hotel lobby, the elevators and even the entrance.

After recuperating from a hectic morning, we boarded the uniquely shaped Budweiser bus and made our way to the Gachibowli Stadium for Sensation Rise 2018.

Bass drops, fireworks and Nucleya

We entered the venue at 7:30 pm, in time to catch Dutch DJ Sam Feldt, who was preceded by a dance troupe that came out to warm up the crowd, with a little pyrotechnics and even water fountains to help them. The Amsterdam-based DJ produced a heavy bass set and hit attendees with songs such as a mash-up of his very own bold “Summer On You” with Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s “Lean On.”

Feldt’s set also included the slick “Carry Me Home” off his 2017 debut album Sunrise To Sunset, Danish pop duo Junior Senior’s groovy “Move Your Feet” as well as his remix versions of the late Avicii’s “Waiting For Love” and “Wake Me Up.” Feldt also had a treat for rock lovers by sampling the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Otherside” and The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” over trippy electronic layers.

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We then made our way to the elevated Budweiser viewing stage that gave us a supreme sight of the sea of fans — which would be quite foamy when you consider that everyone attending Sensation has to be dressed in white. Although a fair distance away from the main stage, it was not the best concert view owing to the giant monitors that blocked your view if you stood at the sides of the viewing stage.

Next, Dutch electro house DJ Sander Van Doorn took to the stage with a set comprising low sounds, feel-good vibes, jazz elements, theatrics and even glitchy sonic elements. German DJ and producer Robin Schulz picked up the tempo with dancy tracks next to a now packed Gachibowli Stadium (we reckon at over 10,000 people). Schulz performed the scintillating “OK” which features British singer-songwriter James Blunt on vocals off 2017’s Uncovered and the jazz-meets-electronica track “Sun Goes Down,” featuring English singer Jasmine Thomson. The German also played his hit guitar banger “Sugar” as well as remixed versions of Drake’s “God’s Plan” and Camila Cabello’s “Havana.”

It’s safe to say that the City of Pearls really does love its EDM, with support from the government allowing the event to go on till after midnight.

For Dutch DJ Nicky Romero’s act, we decided to head to the front of the main stage. Just before Romero went on, dancers came out for a quick filler to keep the audience entertained. The hitmaker DJ brought rock elements in his set to a festival which up until then was mostly blaring out only crushing electronica tunes. Romero showcased his mixes of Florence + the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” as well as a glossy version of Zedd’s “Clarity.”

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Headlining Sensation Rise 2018 was homegrown desi bass king Nucleya. Clearly, there’s a special sense of loyalty for Nucleya — a roar went up among fans, when he took the stage. Nucleya debuted new material which included the acoustic guitar driven “Lori” and also played hits such as the sing-a-long “Laung Gawacha” and the frantic “Aaja.” Call it familiar music induced frenzy or plain fan love, but attendees all around the Gachibowli Stadium danced like they had never before to the sounds of Nucleya right through his entire set.

As soon as the “Akkad Bakkad” beatmaker wrapped up Sensation Rise 2018, a magical few minutes of fireworks filled the sky above to loud cheers from gleeful festival attendees, who had already peaked. The night culminated with an exclusive afterparty with surprise performances by Van Doorn and Dutch electronica artist WhoIsJody over at the Bud Hotel. It’s safe to say that the City of Pearls really does love its EDM and with support from the government allowing the event to go on till after midnight – Hyderabad could well be the next hot music destination. Hopefully, the next edition of Sensation comes soon!

All photos courtesy of MSL Group.

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