Goa govt revokes permission for Sunburn 2020; fest to be rescheduled once COVID-19 picture is clearer, say organisers

These latest updates cap nearly a week of controversies for the EDM festival, beginning with Sunburn's announcement on 1 November.

FP Staff November 07, 2020 10:21:08 IST
Goa govt revokes permission for Sunburn 2020; fest to be rescheduled once COVID-19 picture is clearer, say organisers

Image via Facebook/@SunburnFestival

The Sunburn music festival, which had been granted 'in principle' permission to hold its 2020 edition in Vagator, Goa, over 27-29 December, will not be going ahead, according to reports.

"[The] Goa government has decided to not allow Sunburn in Vagator," the Times of India reported, on the night of Friday, 6 November. The permission had been revoked "due to the COVID-19 pandemic" TOI noted, attributing the statement to the state's Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism Manohar Ajgaonkar.

The Indo Asian News Agency further quoted Ajgaonkar as saying that the EDM festival was permitted in an attempt to 'promote tourism' and tourism-related businesses like taxis, restaurants, hotels; after deliberate consideration, the government decided to withdraw permission in light of the ongoing crisis.

On Saturday, 7 November, Sunburn organisers issued a statement confirming that the festival would not be taking place in Goa this December. The decision to reschedule the festival had been made in consultation with the authorities, the statement read, adding that new dates would be announced once the COVID-19 picture became clearer. The full statement from the Sunburn Festival can be accessed here.

These latest updates cap nearly a week of controversies for the EDM festival, beginning with its announcement on 1 November. Sunburn's organisers Percept Live had said that the festival would follow stringent safety protocol, including temperature checks, scanning of Aarogya Setu app status, maintaining social distancing, limiting the total number of attendees to 20 percent of the venue capacity, and mandatory wearing of face masks, among others.

However, with the state currently reporting over 2,000 active COVID-19 cases, the Sunburn announcement triggered a severe backlash, with critics questioning the need to hold the festival in the midst of a pandemic, risking it turning into a superspreader event.

Hours before the cancellation reports on Friday, the state Congress party had expressed its opposition to the festival. Party leaders protested outside the Panaji hotel where Sunburn organisers were holding a press conference.

Goa reported 200 new COVID-19 cases on 6 November. The state has borne a loss of Rs 1,000 crore in revenue from tourism since the nationwide lockdown was announced at the end of March 2020. India's live music industry's losses are estimated at Rs 3,000 crore for the first two months of the lockdown alone.

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