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India stakes its claim as global entertainment hub

India is enhancing its claim as a global entertainment hub as it entices a growing number of international stars and festival brands to the country.

50 Cent, Westlife, Deep Purple, Goo Goo Dolls, Bastille and Kodaline are among the big-name acts set to perform before the end of the year, while Ed Sheeran last week announced his + – = ÷ x (Mathematics) tour will visit Mumbai in 2024.

The concert at Mahalaxmi Racecourse on 16 March will be the first time Sheeran has played in India since 2017. According to BookMyShow Live, which is co-promoting the concert with AEG Presents, the gig will feature a 360° circular and revolving stage – a first for India.

“The future of events in India is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation,” says Owen Roncon, BookMyShow’s chief of business, live entertainment.

“Our endeavour at BookMyShow Live is to consistently push the boundaries of how live entertainment is experienced here at par with global standards. In line with that, we are thrilled to bring this ground-breaking, production wonder with the 360-degree circular, revolving stage to the Indian audience for the Ed Sheeran: + – = ÷ x Tour (Mathematics Tour).

“The future of events in India is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation”

“With this innovative production, auditory experience and the technological integration, the tour comes to India as a work of art where technology waltzes with creativity, weaving an enchanting blend of visuals and sound; ensuring in fact that it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

India has already enjoyed a bumper 2023 calendar, with concerts from the likes of Backstreet Boys, John Legend and Bonobo, and festivals including Vh1 Supersonic, Mahindra Blues Festival and Lollapalooza drawing yet more household names.

Live Nation and BookMyShow teamed up on the very first Lollapalooza India at Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Racecourse, featuring Imagine Dragons, The Strokes, and Diplo alongside Indian-born rapper AP Dhillon, Delhi-based singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad and others. The event drew 60,000 fans over two days, with 40 artists performing across four stages on a 50-acre site.

James Craven, Live Nation president, Middle East, says Lollapalooza coming to Mumbai is a great example of the market’s growing importance.

“It’s really exciting to see global markets open up to music and artists from the Indian sub-continent, as well as seeing how the Indian market continues to open up for international acts,” says Craven in the IQ’s Global Promoters Report. “Expanding global touring routes for artists is key to their growth and that of the industry, and India will play a key role in that going forwards.”

“Our endeavour is to consistently push the boundaries of how live is experienced here at par with global standards”

Lollapalooza isn’t the only global festival brand to plant a flag in India. Palm Tree Festival, an event founded by renowned Norwegian producer Kygo and his manager Myles Shear, will debut in Mumbai this November.

The festival will bring the likes of Kungs (FR), Sam Felt (NL) and Kidnap (GB) to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse between 3–5 November. Palm Tree has also taken place in The Hamptons (US), Cabo San Lucas (MX) and Pag Island (HR).

Elsewhere in the festival market, pre-existing brands have hailed new milestones. India’s biggest metal festival Bangalore Open Air sold out for the first time in its 10-year history.

The 3,000-capacity event, which is produced in partnership with Germany’s marquee metal festival Wacken Open Air, saw acts including Mayhem, Pestilence, Kryptos, Godless, Born of Osiris, Dying Embrace and Amorphia perform at Royal Orchid Resorts at Yelahanka.

Closing out the year, Percept Live’s Sunburn festival will return to Goa in December, with international artists such as Alesso (SE), Charlotte De Witte (BE) and Timmy Trumpet (AU).

“India’s music landscape has witnessed meteoric growth in the past few years,” says Kunal Khambhat, head of live events & IP at BookMyShow, said in the most recent Global Promoters Report.

“Slowly but steadily, the country has set the stage to become a keystone for some of the biggest music performances and markets in the world – from hosting acclaimed international and Indian independent artists at large concerts to smaller formats that are gradually shaping the music landscape in the country.”


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