Sunburn gives 2019 a booming start

Shreya Das   |  Pune


Asia's biggest electronic dance music festival - Sunburn - gave a booming start to 2019 as it downed its curtains earlier this week with astronomical fireworks, massive raves and overwhelming music by international and desi DJs.

The three-day music festival on the outskirts of Pune's 100-acre Oxford Valley not only boasts of the best line-up of international DJs and exhilarating stages but also of animated flea markets, adventure zones and scrumptious delights to fuel people. 

Sunburn's 12th edition had in store something for every single one of its audience. For the adventure junkies, it was twin-cycling to ride all around the festival, a football-dart game to kick the ball as high as 23 feet and hot air balloon rides to get the best aerial view of the whole festival. 

For people with a love for photography and selfies, the festival's partners put up photo booths for the audiences, including Tinder's match-making booth to Kingfisher's Game of Thrones themed chair attached with flaming red wings. 

The festival saw lakhs of electronic dance music (EDM) enthusiasts, young and old - packing the Oxford Valley for thumping performances by DJs on four separate stages. 

On the first day, the main stage, named 'Cubezoid 4.0', with 7,000 sq. ft of LEDs, witnessed spectacular performances from desi bass king Nucleya, Julia Bliss, Sara Santini, Anish Sood, Vini Vici, Don Diablo and Axwell-Ingrosso creating a perfect celebratory atmosphere. 

What stole the show on the first day was Axwell-Ingrosso's (2/3rds of the Swedish House Mafia) performance with their everlasting anthemic songs like "Sun Is Shining," "Reload", "Out Of My Mind", "Daning Alone" and "More Than You Know". Towards the end, they paid their respects for the passing away of Swedish legend Avicii by playing "Wake Me Up" on "Don't You Worry Child". 

Thousands of people also scribbled Avicii's name and drew his logo on a long black chalkboard as a tribute to the 28-year-old DJ who took his life earlier this year.

The second day, on the other hand, was all about Armin Van Buuren, and Alan Walker's performances in the evening as the venue got packed with people as soon as it hit 7 p.m on the clock. 

Wrapping up the festival and 2018 was the creme de la creme in EDM. On the main stage, India's 'Divine' rapper began the real festivities as he got the crowd roaring. Following which, the Pakistani sister-duo Krewella swept the stage with their intense music and mind-boggling visuals. 

Sound system up to max, lights on full blast and the headliner on the main stage DJ Snake kicked things off for the closing set and had the festival goers in full fist-pumping euphoria. What followed was a relentless, sensory assault for the next hour. Greeting the fans with a 'Namaste', getting onto the console to wave the Indian flag and ending the set with 'Shukriya' -- that's how the upscale French music producer charmed the Indian music lovers apart from dishing out his commercial bangers like Taki Taki, Turn Down for What, Middle, Lean On, Magenta Riddim, Let Me Love You, A Different Way, amongst others.

Sadly, the one thing crazier than the EDM raving was the prices. A 450 ml water bottle which would have normally cost Rs 10 was sold at Rs 50 and the worst part was that the people did not have any choice but to buy it as there was nothing else around.

A DJ Snake fan, who came all the way from Germany and did not want to be named told IANS that he felt as if everything was "unnecessarily commercialised" at the Sunburn. "I have been to music festivals in Germany and never saw such large-scale commercialisation of things," he said.

People also complained of a few other things like washroom hygiene and uneven walking surfaces. The organisers had installed a good number of portable toilet cabins but people were left complaining about its hygiene. 

The walking surfaces, on the other hand, were uneven with big stones hidden under the carpet which caused back and foot pain to many people.

The main highlight of the whole festival, apart from the performances was, however, the traffic and dust. With a single-lane road, the new year celebration turned into a nightmare for many as many of them had to walk 5-6 kilometres inhaling dust and vehicular pollution. 

Many people also took to Twitter to express their disappointment calling their way back home commute a "huge mess". Nonetheless, people revelled in New year festivities and went back home while dancing on DJ Snake's music in the traffic.

(Shreya Das attended the Sunburn festival at the invitation of the organisers. She can be reached at [email protected])-IANS