One of the world’s premier electronic music festivals is expanding to India, seeing a major new market in the billion-plus country once off the radar for Western concert promoters.
The Electric Daisy Carnival, whose giant flagship party takes place each year in Las Vegas, announced an inaugural Indian version for November 12 and 13 in New Delhi.
Electronic dance music has swept youth culture in the West over the past decade and has quickly made inroads in India as the advent of streaming and downloading breaks down musical borders.
“We see India as an exciting market to build a unique and special festival. With a population of 1.2 billion people, half of whom are under 26, and connected through smartphones, the potential is incredible,” said Pasquale Rotella, the founder and CEO of the festival’s Los Angeles-based parent company Insomniac.
“While there is a nice foundation of dance music fans in India, there is still room for a ton of growth,” he told AFP by email.
Rotella hoped that the inaugural Electric Daisy Carnival in India would draw 20,000 to 25,000 people a day and grow to more than 60,000 or 70,000 in future years.
Growth across India –
India was until a decade ago off the touring map for Western artists save for some mega-stars, with domestic musicians overwhelmingly dominating the market and logistical bottlenecks inhibiting tours.
But leading Western DJs have been regularly playing in India for recent years and the country has a well-received homegrown electronic festival, Sunburn, which takes place at the end of each year in the western beach state of Goa.
The Indian capital has traditionally been considered less of an entertainment destination than the western metropolis of Mumbai, while Goa is the hub of the electronic scene.
Rotella, who has had a fascination with India since his childhood, said he saw Delhi as a “very vibrant, alive city” and believed the availability of open space made it ideal for a festival.
Rotella said the festival, whose details are yet to be announced, would include both international and local acts and incorporate Indian culture, creating a new event “integrating everything beautiful that India has to offer.”
Global appeal –
Electric Daisy Carnival—which has a partnership with concert giant Live Nation—has already put on international editions in Brazil, Britain and Mexico as well as in other US cities including New York.
The latest festival in Las Vegas drew more than 400,000 people over three days in June, making it one of the world’s largest music events.
Tomorrowland, arguably the best-known electronic music festival, takes place each year in Belgium and for the second year straight put on a simultaneous party in India with a livestream, taking place last month in Hyderabad.
Another top US electronic festival, Ultra, takes place in Miami and has also held a number of international editions including in Bali, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.
India is not the only emerging player on the electronic music scene. The Storm Electronic Festival in China expanded from two to six cities this year.
Rotella, who started his raves underground in Los Angeles the early 1990s, said that dance music had a unique global appeal thanks to its rhythms and lack of extensive lyrics.
“Dance music has no language barriers to get in the way of reaching the souls of its listeners,” he said.