Is Vh1 Supersonic the Music Mecca We Were All Waiting For?
While India has stepped up its game to become the hottest destination for live events featuring international superstars
Till a decade ago, attending a concert in India featuring your favorite international musician was a distant dream. Most reigning global artists would either entirely skip the subcontinent and the ones that did come to India on a rare tour would mostly pick metros—New Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru—leaving fans in other cities rather downcast.
Plenty has changed in the past few years, with India stepping up its infrastructure game in the music space and making itself a destination for many a rock star or pop icon to perform at. In the last decade, the country has witnessed performances by Grammy-winning rapper Macklemore, ace record producer Eric Prydz, thrash-metal giants Metallica, rock group Guns N’ Roses as well as guitarist Slash on his solo tour, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and pop sensation Justin Bieber, among many others.
Tracing India’s Live Music Boom
Live music has undoubtedly emerged as one of the most engaging forms of entertainment in the country lately. The role of local music venues in propagating this culture has been immense: clubs such as Antisocial in Mumbai, The Humming Tree in Bengaluru, Summer House Café in New Delhi and High Spirits in Pune have become the epicenters of youth culture with music as their most binding adhesive.
The recent boom in India’s live music scene has been traced back to 2007 when entertainment firm Percept hosted the first-ever edition of Sunburn Festival in Goa. Featuring both global and local electronic music artists, the beachside festival became an annual stop for a new breed of party-goers that hadn’t witnessed a music gathering like this in India before.
Since then, the country has been the birth of a number of festivals, some of which have become the most-anticipated events in every Indian millennial’s music calendar. Bacardi NH7 Weekender, organized by Mumbai-based media enterprise Only Much Louder, is touted as India’s ‘happiest music festival’ which has over the years remarkably grown from being an indie music event to a pop culture extravaganza, featuring musicians, comedians and storytellers.
Vh1 Supersonic: The Youngest, Best Multi-Genre Music Festival
Another pioneering festival that has been spearheading a quiet revolution in India’s burgeoning music scene is Viacom 18’s Vh1 Supersonic. The multi-genre music extravaganza debuted in 2013 and has since then gone from strength to strength in playing host to some of the biggest artists in the world. Next year, the fest returns to Pune for the second time for its fifth edition (the first three editions took place in Goa) and will be held at the popular Laxmi Lawns between February 9th to 11th.
The mother of all festival announcements also came from Vh1 Supersonic last month when they announced that the path-breaking American rock band Incubus will make their India debut at the fest. Incubus’ maiden gig here is no less than a dream come true for thousands of rock music fans in India who have been waiting to watch the band live for years. The band is known for its unique brand of alt rock, metal, jazz and funk, and you could even say it sonically embodies the spirit of Vh1 Supersonic: of transcending genres and creating something that is new, innovative and trailblazing.
The fifth edition of the festival will also witness a headlining act by alt-J, who are known for their immersive performances. The English indie rock band have a massive following in India and are sure to attract people across ages and music tastes with their eclectic live sets, making Vh1 Supersonic a place where there is something for every kind of festival-attendee.
Some of the other acts slated to perform at Vh1 Supersonic next year include American dancehall leaders Major Lazer, prog house producer Marshmello and DJs Dillon Francis and Joseph Capriati, among others. These are just a few reasons why attendees should not miss the upcoming edition of the festival.
Adding more diversity to the lineup are Indian artists such as indie dream-pop duo Parekh & Singh and Mumbai electro-rockers Donn Bhatt + Passenger Revelator. Homegrown electronic music heroes like Kohra, Arjun Vagale, DJ Sa, Su Real, Sound Avatar will also be playing the 2018 edition of Vh1 Supersonic.
Says Saugato Bhowmik, Head, LIVE Viacom18 and Consumer Products, Viacom18, “After four successful editions of creating the best of music experience for our audience, we are thrilled for our fifth edition. Vh1 Supersonic 2018 will feature an array of Indian and international artists perform live, creating a superior experience for the music aficionados.”
As is fitting for any mammoth festival, Vh1 Supersonic has pulled out all the stops for February 2018 with a genre-bending lineup that was recently announced in two phases. Make no mistake—it is much more than just an EDM festival. “Our ultimate aim is to build Vh1 Supersonic as the best music destination in the country, and going multi-genre was the obvious next step after establishing our brand,” says Bhowmik. He further tells us, “Today, it has evolved into a much more compelling, much larger multi-genre international music festival.” If Vh1 Supersonic saw a footfall of 25,000 over five days in 2013, it grew manifold to amass over 45,000 attendees across three days in its last edition, with a marketing projection of 500 million from 100 million.
Global Artist Agencies Tapping Indian Markets
Other festivals to have gathered sizeable followings include Sula Fest in Nashik, Enchanted Valley Carnival (the fest which was previously held in Aamby Valley takes place in Mumbai this month), Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh and Magnetic Fields Festival held at Alsisar Mahal in Rajashtan, among others. Apart from featuring top notch Indian artists, all of these events have also consistently hosted reigning global performers. Bhowmik states it is because international touring companies and artist management agencies have now recognized India’s untapped market. He says, “With more than 60 percent of the country’s population being under the age of 30 and thanks to the penetration of information though digital medium, international artists look at this country as their next biggest audience base outside of the U.S.”
Says Bhowmik, “India has emerged as a hub for live music festivals in the last few years, owing to the growing numbers of live events being curated all across the country. Indian infrastructure to pull off such large scale events have improved manifold.” He adds, “While there is some work still needed on single window clearance for permissions and licenses, the technological infrastructure is now comparable to many countries in the west. Also, the growing demand for such shows has paved way for more international artists to come to India to perform.”
5 Things To Look Forward to At Vh1 Supersonic 2018
1. Beer Garden
A festival within a festival with flowing beers and shaded seating.
2. SuperFlea and Food Market
Call it what you like: boho heaven, shoppers paradise or chill zone. This is the mother of all flea arenas you cannot miss.
3. Art at Supersonic
Soak in the beauty of meaningful artworks on venue as the festival goes #ArtSonic.
4. Women’s Special Bars
Ladies can now let their hair down as the festival has them covered with a women’s only bar, beauty booth, safety squad and other special arrangements.
5. Pre and post parties
The shindig starts early at Vh1 Supersonic with happy hours commencing at 2pm. Also on offer is a slickly programmed after-hours party.
All photos courtesy of Vh1 Supersonic