Sunburn Festival, India's largest electronic music event, has faced its fair share of controversies since its inception in 2007. Last year, the hashtag #BanSunburn trended after religious groups called for its cancellation due to its perceived negative impact. These detractors cited "drug mafias, addiction, and vulgarity" (among other concerns) as reasons for the need to ban the festival. Now, critics have a new argument to call for a swift cancellation—COVID-19.
Percept Live, the organizers behind Sunburn, still plan to host the 2020 edition as scheduled in Goa December 27th to 29th, but now under proper COVID-19 safety protocols. In a tweet posted on Sunburn's Twitter account, they shared a link to those safety measures, which are laid out below.
1. No entry without Aarogya Setu app check/scan.
2. Wearing face mask is compulsory throughout the festival.
3. Social distancing is to be maintained at all times.
4. All entry procedures to be followed - temperature check, sanitisation and security frisking.
5. Entry permitted into the event as per time slots selected, no crowding at gates, toilets, F&B area or any other common areas.
6. Other protocols including a negative COVID test may be required depending upon government regulations at the time.
The last rule's "may be required" phrasing is a topic of consternation. This has upset many who believe it is irresponsible to continue under these dangerous circumstances. "Sunburn should not be held this year," said former Deputy Chief Minister and sitting Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar during a speech on Wednesday. "Just because such events generate revenue for the government, these things cannot be allowed. Rave parties and Sunburn anyway do not yield anything positive."
It is reported that Goa currently has a total of 44,189 confirmed COVID cases, 2,209 of which are active. 618 people have died in the state since the lockdown was announced in March 2020.