One of the hardest parts of being a music blogger is setting aside your personal musical tastes and biases to adopt a neutral view on what you are presenting. You can’t be elitist when it comes to genres because there is a niche audience for every kind of music. And you most certainly can’t call out commercial EDM for the obtuse music it is, because an overwhelming populace of listeners exists that would take no time in turning over your unsuspecting bottom to the Mexican mob if caught insulting their favourite Swedish House Mafia. So it was with an open mind and firmly bit down tongue that our very own Akanksha Chauhan drove to Galgotia University Campus One in Greater Noida to experience what has been touted as Asia’s largest electronic music carnival – Sunburn Noida 2013! 


Akanksha Chauhan at Sunburn Noida 2013
Akanksha Chauhan





So what exactly is Sunburn all about? Sunburn is the first indigenous dance music festival in the country, ranked 9th amongst the largest EDM festivals in the world overall, and is the largest festival of its kind in Asia. Jaw hit the floor yet? Wait, there’s more. Sunburn Goa is currently ranked 4th, in the Top 25 Festivals in the World, by in the mix. It is staged in multiple formats, dates, and cities namely, Sunburn Festival (Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Colombo, Dubai), Sunburn Arena (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune), Sunburn Club (All India) and Sunburn Campus (All India). Now in its 7th season, Sunburn has been the pioneering force propelling the EDM movement in India over the last decade and has hosted some of the world’s leading DJs. The street cred this festival has earned is so fantastic that being in attendance of Sunburn has become eponymous with what’s cool, hip and swag among the young people of the city. 

Here’s what Mr. Shailendra Singh, Joint Managing Director of Percept, the entertainment, media and communications conglomerate organizing the event, had to say before the event - "Sunburn is reborn in Season 7. The experience we are creating this season is like nothing India has ever seen. Sunburn has always been of the fans, by the fans, for the fans, and we are constantly searching and innovating to bring the fans the most incredible experience possible. Our stage, sound, light, etc. is on par with international standards, there is no question. But what sets us apart from the rest of the world is our soul, the Indian spirit in our fans, in our team." 

The second edition of the day long festival in Noida boasted of a massive line-up: Dash Berlin, Rank 1, Nervo, Porter Robinson and Shogun along with local artists Anish Sood, Vipul, Dualist Enquiry and NDS & Blue. In spite of the huge fan following the international artists enjoy abroad, India being terra incognita for most of them, the anticipation surrounding the performers here was quite underwhelming. In conversation with Delhiites, I found to my surprise that very few had even heard of Dash Berlin. That made little difference however. The past editions of the festival have been so successful that the concert was guaranteed to be a sell-out even before the tickets went online. Sheeple people will flock anyhow because they heard from their friends who heard from their friends how phenomenal it was last year or the year before that. Such is the unprecedented rep of Sunburn!
We reached the venue amidst fears of rain as dense dark clouds rolled dangerously across Noida skies but the gods took mercy on the several thousand that were thronged outside the grounds resplendent in their neon best. Smooth ticketing and swift security checks ensured that the entry procedure was barely running the gauntlet. The volunteers were extremely polite and helpful and it was a delight to see how well they handled the energetic trippin’ mob of concert-goers.
The venue bedecked with a state-of-the-art sound and light set up, constituted a double stage arrangement wherein the two stages - Space Station and Space Jungle – featured back-to-back artists simultaneously churning out house, trance, commercial EDM, guitar-based rock and techno tunes. The stage design was particularly captivating this time around. Straight out of a Steven Spielberg movie, the Space Station stage drew inspiration from sci-fi elements with a gigantic glowing jelly-fish like spacecraft suspended in the backdrop of the DJ consoles. The swaying tendrils underneath the craft reflected myriad psychedelic hues while light lasers beaming through the crowd in front recreated an apocalyptic alien invasion scenario. The Space Jungle stage was equally impressive, figuratively leading one down the rabbit hole into a fantastical Alice-in-Wonderland world where birds of paradise, butterflies, all things sweet, pretty and nice frolic in a magical forest. And if even that got boring, there were merchandise stalls, food stalls, a gaming area and bar arenas to unwind. 
The Space Station stage kicked off proceedings with local boys NDS & Blue i.e. Gaurav Sharma and Siddharth Sharma. Hugely popular with the Delhi crowd after their recent gig at Sunburn Campus AIIMS, a cheer went up when they took to stage and started off with their commercial EDM set. A small audience had gathered by now to watch but the mood remained laidback well into their set. Whether this could be attributed to the lazy afternoon sun or the unimaginative commercial builds and punches in their music remained a mystery to us. 
Meanwhile across at the Space Jungle stage, Delhi based DJ/producer Vipul started with his hypnotic house/trance set that instantly bleeped on my ‘good’ music radar. His layered music breeds its own visuals as you listen along, slowly wobble-bobbling your coolness. 
Vipul was later joined by Dualist Inquiry aka Sahej Bakshi. He has in the past performed at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton UK, opening for international stalwart Beardyman. He also achieved great acclaim after being chosen as the only Indian artist to support David Guetta in all three cities of the Eristoff Invasion Festival 2012. His mix of live electronica and electric guitar riffs upped the ante, adding pace to the set. Sahej drew the crowd in with his stellar showmanship as he climbed all over the stage head-banging and strumming away on his guitar even as Vipul continued to churn sick sounds on the console.
Back at the Space Station stage, the venue started filling up for trance artist Rank 1 from Netherlands, famous for tracks like Airwave, Such is Life, etc. A small technical hitch interrupted his sound for a few seconds but like an ace professional he smoothly transitioned to the next track as soon as it was back on. The audience was getting high on energy and music at this point. The hands went up in the air and stayed up!
Dualist Inquiry made way for Indian prodigy, twenty-three year old Goa based EDM producer, Anish Sood x Lost Stories, who catapulted to fame after his debut track Wanna Be Your Only Love was aired on Armin van Buuren's A State Of Trance with an accompanying  music video that received massive airplay on VH1. Naturally we were immensely curious to see what the young man would conjure up live. Regrettably, Lost Stories seemed to have lost the plot here at Noida. We saw glimpses of the raw young talent in sporadic intervals but not nearly enough of the awe-inspiring stuff we had hoped to hear as he stuck to a safe crowd-pleaser commercial track list.
Anish Sood was followed by another young EDM sensation - Porter Robinson. American producer and DJ, Porter was the youngest performer in this edition of Sunburn, Noida. He succeeded in engaging the crowd with his mix of rebellious boy-next-door women love and men want to shoot baskets with charm, not to mention his high octane albeit commercial set.
As the sun went down on the Space Station stage, the mood of the crowd was more elevated than ever. American DJ/Producer Andrew Chen aka Shogun took over from Rank 1. Voted #122 in the DJ Mag 2011 world rankings, Shogun has been the resident DJ for the Ministry of Sound nightclub for over 3 years. He has even remixed for world number one - Armin van Buuren. 
Out of all the acts in the line-up, Australian musician/songwriter duo Miriam Nervo and Olivia Nervo popularly known as the Nervo Twins, were the most eagerly awaited. With their on-stage confidence, sass and funky style Nervo make living look fun. Having co-produced the No.1 hit single on Beatport The Way We See The World with Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and co- written Guetta's When Love Takes Over which eventually won a Grammy, they are definitely blazing a trail for a new generation of women artists. Eat-Sleep-Rave-Repeat. Like fairies, the gorgeous Liv and Mim perched atop the Space Jungle stage cast their spell on an enchanted audience that raised their hands up higher in the air growing wilder by the minute.
The anticipation surrounding the headlining artist Jeffrey Sutorius aka Dash Berlin was leading to a mini frenzy in the audience ranks in front of the Space Station stage. He is the world’s 7th best DJ according to DJ Mag and one of the most well-known and popular DJs across the globe with over 2 million likes on his official Facebook page. His music is the sort that absolutely lifts you out of your boots and rockets you into the clouds, a devastating talent for atmospheric, stepping kind of tracks. He opened his set at Sunburn with tracks like remixes of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts, rife with heavy lyrics and bleeding instrumentals to serve in to the crowd’s audio pleasure for a solid time. Midway, it got a bit dull as Dash too succumbed to commercial crowd-pleasers, but hey whatever gets the crowd going right? And oh my, were they losing it down there! Dancing happy faces all around, the vibe was infectious. The DJ himself was in full power mode with his on-stage antics. The end section of the set even made up for a lacklustre middle part, picking it up a notch and overall leaving me satisfied with the performance.


Sunburn Noida 2013 Style Check :


Akanksha Chauhan Sunburn Noida 2013
Akanksha at Sunburn by Nishant Matta


Sunburn Noida 2013
Sunburn Noida 2013

Sunburn Noida 2013
Akanksha and Sahil

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Arpit

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Sabeena and Akanksha

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Sabeena



Sunburn Noida 2013 Atmosphere :


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Sunburn Noida 2013


Photo Credit : Percept and Nav Prabhat Singh Rawat

Sunburn has singlehandedly set in motion a social change by introducing dance festival culture in India. It was the biggest party I ever witnessed come to town and the collective spirit and feeling that enveloped the audience on Sunday, truly epitomizes the rave ideals of plur - peace, love, unity and respect. Now the difference between ‘good music’ and commercial EDM is much like that between a Botticelli and an Andy Warhol. You simply can’t compare the two. One makes you eargasm, the other makes you want to bounce, shake, jiggle, grind, flyyy! With flawless production and a mesmerized audience, Sunburn delivered where it had to. The rest is moot. ;)


DSB


2 comments:

  1. its nice to see akanksha in dis outfit.........really looking perfect !!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.unnatisilks.com/

    ReplyDelete

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