When you have headliners such as Marshmallow, Major Lazer, and Sean Paul coming together, you know you are at one of the best festivals in the world.
Kicking off the fifth edition from last year’s three stages, the fest brought in six stages this year, with the main stage Sonic Realm taking you into fairytale land with an Alice in Wonderland setup, complete with a clock, the hands that actually move, but anti-clockwise. You also had the wings of the ladybug open and close at intervals. And to top it all, you had the commanding deer right in the center.
Laboratory Supersonic was the first stage as you entered the venue, and comparatively small compared to the others, but sporting a very industrial feel, complete with shipping port containers stacked in the backdrop.
Live Arena was the huge main stage and a well thought of Changeover stage for much smaller acts. Between the Live Arena and the Spectrum stage that had more of the EDM acts, was the Reggae Stage close to the Beer Garden spinning out some classic reggae tunes on CD and vinyl.
The first day of the three-day festival held from 9th, 10th and 11th February, saw Indie acts like Komorebi, Parekh & Singh, Clayton Hogermeer, Kohra, and Midival Punditz to the Live Arena stage offering the topper for the night Nucleya, Dillion Francis and Major Lazer on the Sonic Realm stage. Anyone who was at the festival will tell you how packed the venue was, and going by statistics from last year, this season saw the highest number of footfalls, with a total attendance of around 12,000 people on all three days. Major Lazer, who has played in the country before, began his set with one of Bollywood’s iconic track Choli Ke Peeche moving over to Kendrick Lamar’s Humble and Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, besides of course his own songs. Lazer showed his love for Bollywood with more unexpected tracks like Ladki Kar Gayi Chul and a few others.
If Daft Punk had their helmets, Deadmau5 his mouse head, Christopher Comstock, known professionally as Marshmello, an American electronic dance music producer and DJ had the mask head. Day 2 saw a few die-hard Mashmellow fans walk in with the face mask and dancing just like he does.
Though the day started with some great acts like Madboy Mink and the Stage Collective at Live Arena, followed by the Shillong based Soulmate who gave a rousing performance, this was followed by the Ska Vengers ending with Bombay Bassment and the Fanculos. The Spectrum stage witnessed some big bang performances like Ash Roy and Tuhin Mehta to Joseph Capriati, while The Laboratoire stage witnessed some galactic performances from Raja Kumari bringing tracks like Meera, Believe in You, City Slums. DJ Uri played the turntables with Ryan Sadri on Sax, but the night eventually belonged to Mashmello. Once again like the previous night opening act was almost similar to that of Major Lazer as both of them had Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai as the opening song, but from there Mashmello went on to his blockbusters we love so much.
The last day at Laxmi Lawns saw indie acts like Aswekeepsearching, Pentagram, The F 16s and American rock band Incubus to the Spectrum stage offering a fantastic set by Arjun Vagale.
The main act for the night was taken by Sean Paul, with audiences expecting a night to remember. Sadly the Jamaican rapper who sported an orange jacket, was not in his element but managed to raise the bar a bit with songs like Temperature, She Doesn’t Mind and a few others.
The venue had lots to offer, if you ever got tired of the music. At a sprawling 35,000 sq ft moving around from each stage would give you enough exercise to lose a few calories. Like last year, there were several installations to keep you busy. This year had a giant slide, swings, cute de-stress tents, a see saw, and a mechanical bull, besides of course a fabulous food court with a mini flea market.
Sadly if you wanted to have your poison while you enjoyed your favourite act, you would have to down the glass of beer or Jim Bean at the bar itself, as no alcohol was permitted outside the bar area or allowed to be carried from one stage bar to the other. Something that the organisers should seriously consider doing away with. One may try to adhere to the Legal Drinking Age (LDA) of 25, but chances are you might just get away with it at the Beer Garden that had practically no security to oversee who was drinking what.
Despite the hits and the misses, Vh1 Supersonic gave us memories we will always cherish. Can’t wait for next year.
Text and Photos by Verus Ferreira