We all know that Goa is famous for its serene beaches, biggest carnivals, and Sunburn music festival. Unfortunately, this year, there's a twist in the tale - as we all know that India is in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the deadly virus still in the air, the chance of the Sunburn festival happening is a big question.
Looking at the current scenario, Goa is also swamped with tourists everywhere on the beaches soaking their feet in the wet & chilling sand. On the flip side, the localities are pleading to tourists not to visit their city right now.
Plus, the state has recently registered 167 additional COVID-19 cases, which is considered to be the highest count in the span of two weeks. The much-awaited Goa's Sunburn music festival will still be a dream for many visitors and tourists, as the Government refused to host the event.
On Nov 7, 2020, Sunburn festival has shared the notice on their official Twitter handle saying, "In consultation with the authorities, we have decided to re-schedule Sunburn Goa 2020, originally planned for the dates 27, 28, & 29 December in Vagator, Goa".
"As far as I know, sunburn had started advertising about early bird tickets a couple of weeks back. And at first, the Govt did permit them & later on after realizing the cases rising in Goa & pressure from the locals, the govt decided to revoke the permission & sunburn was forced to refund the money back to the people", states DJ Rinton.
He also agrees with the decision taken by the Government to cancel the festival by saying, "I think it's utterly a right decision not to have any big music festival which would mean a massive crowd all over & traffic jams, people spilling out of various different venues. With this situation, social distancing and all the other protocols will be difficult to be managed by the authorities".
Reminiscing the special moments
In 2019, around 200,000 fans from across the world attended the festival. The place was completely jampacked. No surprise, with all the lightings, loud music, drinks, and celebration like that - who wants to miss it? Goans' answer would be "no-one".
"The decision was taken by the Goa government to reject the festival this year is totally acceptable. I look forward to Sunburn because, it's the only time you get a chance to see some legendary international artists flocking all the way down to our hometown" says Bonita Dias from Cansaulim, Goa.
"I've witnessed this festival only a couple of times. I can't say that I'm not going to miss the festival this year. I'll miss the vibe, the music, and the happy faces around", shares Avito Fernandes when asked about what he misses the most about this festival.
Not to forget, the unforgettable memories filled with exuberance is the best festive experience one could relish at Asia's biggest electronic music festival on the very own Goan soil. Those who have attended this festival must have at least one special moment to share, so does Bonita - "My best moment was when I set my eyes on my favourite artist Avicii in 2014, although it was from a distance".
Well, this time would be arduous for the DJs, artists, and other entertainment crew. And this has no one to blame, but we all have to endure the current situation by following all the respective norms for the safety of the people.
"After playing an impromptu at the artist village backstage, the folks at Sunburn gave me a wonderful opportunity to play at 2020 Sunburn Music festival. This year I would've made my debut if the pandemic hit hasn't happened. I'll use this time effectively and work on myself. I feel there's time for everything and eventually, my time will come soon", expresses Dylan with positivity.
Under these circumstances of the pandemic, if the festival happens by any chance, the only possible way to go with it is to celebrate outdoors by following all the protocols like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. "I personally feel that eventually, it'll happen when everything gets better. But for now, it's a smart move to keep it on hold", acknowledges Dylan.
No wonder – this time it'll be different. Because, last year, there were certain death cases reported, of which, two music lovers from Andhra Pradesh died during the Sunburn Electronic Dance Music festival due to overdosage of drugs. So, they'll be circumspective scrutiny on the consumption of all the illegal substances at the festival.
Goa's tourism revenue plummets
This year is a great loss for both the government and Goa's tourism in specific, as most of its revenue comes from its tourism. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), Goa's revenue was 660.60 billion (US$ 9.45 billion) in 2018-19.
However, some estimates show that Goa lost at least Rs 1000 crore business in 2020 amid lockdown. And the signs of Sunburn not happening would be a great loss of opportunity for the artists out there, both in terms of revenue and performance at the festival.
"The sunburn festival in the past has helped Goans and the music industry of Goa not only in terms of music but also generating revenue. This festival helps the local crowd by allowing them to set up their local stores so that they could make enough profits cumulating to Rs 1000 crore. This is a win-win for the Goan families as well as the businessmen to generate additional revenue", explains Carisio, who's a music producer.
Also, this is a major loss for both the government & DJs as well. "DJs who are already booked and paid for their gigs in advance got postponed for another day or venue depending on the agreement with the artist and his management. As far as government and local establishments, this is a major loss for our state, as we are mainly reliant on tourism," adds DJ Rinton.
Controlling the rising no. of Coronavirus cases
The Sunburn music festival is still a quandary, but thousands of tourists are entering Goa and strolling around those serene beaches as if nothing has happened. The authorities don't seem like taking enough preventive measures to control the spread of the virus. If the same continues for long, things would become much scary for the locals in Goa.
"This is due to the lack of responsibility by the authorities. The beaches are flooded with people and it's a clear sign of things escalating soon in our state. And now with Maharashtra having their own restrictions is only gonna make things worse for goa, cause the tourist who travelled from Maharashtra are gonna be stuck in goa little longer as they require a healthy certificate to get back into Maharashtra" mentions DJ Rinton.
As Goa is enduring multiple hassles caused by the pandemic, the netizens and locals are also requesting the travellers and tourists not to visit Goa during this period. If Goa needs to come back to its original place, it's better for us to do our part by staying indoors and save the state from further tourism destruction. Can't we do this small thing for all of us? There's no other choice but to do it.
The authorities should also take strict action like every other state to protect from eventual loss and the people in Goa. Maybe, this could possibly open the doors for a better, safer, and a smaller-version of the Sunburn music festival.