Panaji: Shailendra Singh, the brain behind Asia's one of the biggest Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival, Sunburn, says he almost gave up his business after his company went through a rough phase following the death of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray in November 2012.
"The gates opened at 2 pm sharp on November 17, 2012, and more than 2,000 fans bolted around the racetrack and onto the Turf Club lawns.
"They were already pressing up against the stage barricading, claiming their front row spots," reads the book 'The True Story of Sunburn' penned by Singh, who is joint managing director of Percept that organises this event.
"At exactly 2.10 pm, I got a phone call. Balasaheb Thackeray, one of India's most influential and controversial politicians, had passed away. It was declared a day of mourning across Maharashtra. All festivities were to be cancelled out of respect," recalled Singh, whose company was readying to host the world renowned electronic dance music supergroup 'Swedish House Mafia' at that time.
"We found ourselves in a catch-22 situation. We could claim insurance for our losses only if we came under direct threat from an outside source. Basically, the only way we could recover all our investment in the show, would be if Shiv Sena supporters entered our venue and threatened our fans. We had to cancel the show. There was no way we would put even one single fan at risk, if we could help it," he writes.
"I felt like giving up. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I said I don't want to do this business anymore,? Singh told PTI in Goa. Singh, who has produced over 70 Bollywood movies and also known as the 'sports marketing guru', says that the book is all about how all of us together created one of India's truly 'Glocal' (global and local) intellectual properties which is produced locally and consumed globally.
Narrating another incident wherein Sunburn's Goa edition faced almost cancellation, the writer says after 26/11 terrorist attacks in 2008, all the events were cancelled.
"Sunburn was supposed to happen 28 days later. I truly felt in the depths of my soul that the best defiance that we, individually and as a nation, could show the terrorists, was to refuse to be terrorised. It was time to bounce back. It was time to demonstrate that we Indians are strong and resilient, and prove that a horrible act committed by a few people would not make us forget all that we had to be grateful for," says Singh.
Sunburn happened that year in Goa and it was the only festival of that magnitude to happen after the dastardly strikes, he added. "In the darkest times in modern history, India united in celebration of life through Sunburn," he said.
The book that was released ahead of Sunburn Goa to be held on December 27, 28 and 29 at Vagator beach, also speaks about Sunburn's split from VJ-DJ Nikhil Chinappa, the man who who pioneered the electronic dance music trend in India and conceptualised the celebrated fest.