Saturday 24 Feb 2024

Will the Dec 31 show go on? Govt says no, Sunburn says yes

| DECEMBER 06, 2023, 10:02 PM IST

The suspense over Sunburn's December 31 date continues with conflicting comments coming from Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and the EDM organisers. There is a furore over Sunburn picking the year-end date too with a section of people, including Siolim MLA Delilah Lobo, making a vehement plea not to include December 31 into the show’s schedule for the impact it would have on businesses in Goa.

Sunburn has been doing brisk business selling its 4-day event in Goa from Dec 28-31, unperturbed by any of the local sentiment. The Electronic Dance Musical show which usually makes a December-end splash, has a history of stoking controversies — from non-payment of dues to compliances, but has been managing to have its way. This year, there is an apprehension that the December 31 date of Sunburn will overshadow the festivities and other local shows inflicting huge losses on the entertainment industry in the State.

The argument against December 31 is reasonable because New Year's Eve has been an all-important date in Goa’s business perspective and ranks high on the tourism calendar. Tourists, celebrities, film personalities and political leaders descend from various parts of the world to usher in the New Year from Goa and New Year's Eve is a time when the party atmosphere is at its peak.

It is plain reasoning that we should not dabble with such experiments that are detrimental to the interests of local businesses, and no events should be allowed to hijack Goa's New Year revelry.  The argument that Sunburn is not going to affect local business is skewed and not made with a Goan perspective. There are days when the State has to look beyond what Sunburn brings to the table and consider the sentiments of the State as a priority.

The surprising part, however, is that there is a sharp contrast between what the government is speaking and what the organisers are understanding. Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte has claimed that permission for December 31 is not given. Earlier, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had assured that Sunburn will not be held on New Year’s Eve “if people do not want it”.

The organisers, in a surprise retort, have asked those opposing the dates to check whether the government has granted or denied permission for the dates advertised, suggesting that permissions have been granted. Interestingly, Sunburn has gone ahead selling tickets for the Dec 28-31 show in Vagator and has showcased a galaxy of global icons scheduled to perform including Timmy Trumpet, Alesso, Charlotte de Witte, Hardwell, etc.

The conflicting signals have left many questions wide open. Can Sunburn afford the risk of booking international artists by spending crores of rupees if the itinerary is not confirmed? From where do the organisers get the confidence that "the show will go on"? And, would it mean that the organisers are taking all and sundry in the State for granted? What does the common citizen make out of a situation when the government says permission is not granted for Dec 31, and the organisers claim, it is.

Whatever the outcome, it appears that lessons have not been learnt in dealing with Sunburn. If organisers are promoting a date without the government's permission, there is something seriously wrong somewhere. An event cannot be bigger than the system and cannot be allowed to bulldoze through protocols. It's time the "bluff" comes out in the open.

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