Sunburn Festival vs. Government and Locals: Can the Beat Go On?

Entertainment | August 28, 2023 | News

Sunburn Festival

Goa's annual Sunburn music festival, known for attracting thousands of music enthusiasts, has found itself at the center of a dispute as state Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte took a stern stance against the event organizers. Tourism minister has made it clear that the government will not be dictated to by event organizers and emphasized the importance of adhering to proper procedures for organizing such events.

Reports have been circulating that the Sunburn music festival, a well-known international electronic dance music event, is slated to be held near the Manohar International Airport at Mopa, Goa. However, Khaunte has asserted that no final decision has been made by the state regarding the venue.

"We will not allow musical events to make the Goa government dance," declared Khaunte, suggesting that the government would not bow to the whims of event organizers. He stated that there exists a formal process for organizing music events and emphasized that the government's approach would not be swayed by the organizers' desires.

Khaunte, who holds the position of tourism minister, conveyed his concerns about potential misimpressions that could arise due to the festival's location. "We are trying to grow the infrastructure at Mopa airport, the roads are not yet ready, and we want to attract tourists. Tourists should not get the wrong impression through the music festival," he said, highlighting the broader implications of such an event on tourism in the area.

The controversy has taken on a local dimension as well, with some residents of Mopa-Pernem in North Goa voicing their opposition to the possibility of the festival being moved to their area. The Mopa Vimantal Panchcroshi Pidit Jan Sanghatana (MVPPJS), a local organization, has even threatened to protest against the festival if it were to be held in their vicinity.

While the Sunburn festival has been an annual attraction for music enthusiasts since its inception in 2007, this year's edition seems to have encountered unique challenges. Despite the fact that tickets are already on sale and dates have been finalized (December 28 to December 31), the festival organizers have not formally announced the venue.

Minister Khaunte has expressed his own reservations about the festival's management. He recounted how in the past, assurances were made to provide a prominent stage for local artists, but they were relegated to a corner, prompting complaints from the artists.

As the debate rages on, it remains to be seen how the Goa government and the Sunburn festival organizers will navigate this complex situation. The clash between the desire for cultural events and the concerns of the local community and government showcases the challenges inherent in organizing large-scale events while taking into account the interests of all stakeholders involved.

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Tourism minister has made it clear that the government will not be dictated to by event organizers and emphasized the importance of adhering to proper procedures for organizing such events.

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