What is the formula to a successful festival? Music to appease the soul, food to satisfy every little craving, experiences to take your mind off the world, and the best company to relish every moment of the festival fun. Vh1 Supersonic 2018 ticked all the boxes. Geared up for its very first fully multi-genre line-up, this year was all about attracting music lovers across genres. From the 9th to the 11th of February, at the conveniently-located Laxmi Lawns in Pune, Vh1 Supersonic 2018 showed us why they are the numero uno music festival in India in today’s times.
With much to be elaborated, here’s the Sherp review for Vh1 Supersonic 2018:
Laxmi Lawns is located in Magarpatta City, just half an hour from all of the city’s hub points. So getting here was no problem at all. The Sherp did not encounter traffic woes that lasted more than 5 minutes long. Supersonic also joined hands with Uber, who provided us with delicious discounts on travel and ensured we got a cab at all times. Those who got their cars along were given a convenient parking spot, while the VIPs and MIPs could park their cars right by the box office. Easy breezy.
This festival was a lesson in optimum space management. With five stages, a flea market and a play zone to accommodate, the organisers aced when it came to figuring out the ideal layout for the festival. After passing through security, you would step into a magical walkway that led you to four of the five stages, the play zone and the flea market.
The Laboratoire Supersonique stage hosted some great acts, but it didn’t carry any of the major headliners. Hence, the fact that the stage was stationed right in front of the main entrance made a lot of sense, as the music playing there did a great job in luring people in there first. The flea market led to the Sonic Realm stage, so those who wanted to fuel up before catching any major act in action could easily do so. The Live stage had a massive lawn area where people could sit down on the grassy patches and listen to their favourite bands serenade them. The Spectrum stage by Awakenings was the furthest from the main entrance, and it provided the ideal setting for techno lovers to be taken into a trance state. The 10,000 Lions Sound System reggae stage was located at the Experiences zone and had intimate gatherings following their infectious Jamaican rhythm.
Opening off Day 1’s proceedings Gurbax kick-started the spirits at the Sonic Realm stage. Simultaneously, Komorebi belted out some of her best experimental electronica hits, that perfectly set the tone for an entertaining afternoon that was livened by the performances of Easy Wanderlings, Clayton Hogermeer ft. Aria Nanji, Lands, Curtain Blue, Parekh & Singh, and Your Chin, before the highly anticipated set of alt-J at the Live Arena. The vibe was effervescent and the venue was packed, as alt-J got the audience singing along to a set that included most of their hits. Lead singer, Joe Newman, was seated in a wheelchair all through the performance due to an injury even as the band opened with their recent hit ‘Deadcrush’, and ended their performance playing ‘Breezeblocks’.
The final performance by Donn Bhat + The Passenger Revelator enticed the crowd with an apt closing act that had the crowd wanting for more. The main stage had the right tone going for it with performances by Su Real, Sound Avtar + DJ SA, Nucleya, Dillon Francis, and Major Lazer. Safe to say that the crowds remained transfixed in their positions at the main stage progressing forward from Nucleya’s set that featured music & visuals that knocked it out of the park.
Headliner for the evening, Major Lazer, completely stole the show with a good number of Bollywood+Bhangra hits slipping into their set in between. While this was enjoyable for the Indian audiences, it took us away a bit from what we’d come to expect – a show of the sick dance beats of Major Lazer.
The Laboratoire Supersonique stage and the Spectrum stage by Awakenings equally inspired large crowds of revelers.
Following up on an exciting Day 1, Day 2 soared high with performances by One&One, B.R.E.E.D, Lost Stories, Ghastly, Ookay, and Marshmello at the Sonic Realm main stage. Marshmello’s set enticed the fans and had them dancing to familiar tunes, while One&One and Lost Stories had the crowd pumped early on.
Headliner for the day at the Live Arena featured the super energetic and wildly fascinating, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The Live Arena was a manic circus to behold, as there was an escalating energy and rhythm as the performances progressed, right from the early set by The Stage Collective to the finishing act, The Fanculos. Soulmate proved to be the ideal evening dose of music with their soul-shattering guitar solos and the mind-numbingly impossible vocal range of Tipriti TIPS Kharbangar.
The Awakenings Spectrum stage had its own star-night with the widely renowned Joseph Capriati headlining on Day 2. B2B performances by some of the best local and international techno artists, followed by a raging set by Enrico Sangiuliano marked a memorable Day 2 at the techno stage.
The Laboratoire Supersonique had its own sound resounding far and wide as trance, electronica, and more, became the language of the magnificent stage. The Reggae Stage featured Dan Wiltshere, Dakta Dub, and Earl Gateshead who delivered the good vibes and good music.
The final day of Vh1 Supersonic and the crowd (and us!) were already feeling the daunting feeling of a trip to paradise coming to a close. The Sonic Realm stage stood tall and gleaming in the sun; so proud, so mesmerizing. The main stage came alive with performances by Candice Redding, Zaeden, Seven Lions, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, and Sean Paul. While fans enjoyed the early sets by Candice and Zaeden, Seven Lions amped up the energy among the audience. The closing and headlining act on Day 3, Sean Paul, performed some of his best hits over the years and had the crowd all nostalgic. While the Jamaican singer did his best to keep the crowd entertained, there were quite a few who didn’t thoroughly enjoy his set at Vh1 Supersonic.
Many would undoubtedly say that the best acts were at the Live Arena on Day 3 and they’d be right. A stellar lineup featuring Incubus, Mosko, The F16’s, Pentagram, Plini ft. David Maxim Micic, and more, absolutely rocked the show during Day 3 of Vh1 Supersonic 2018. Aussie musician Plini, who has won great acclaim for his guitar skills and instrumental knowledge, had a massive gathering of fans and enthusiasts who were spell-bound by his skill.
The comeback performance of Pentagram had every die-hard rock fan excited as it was the first time one of India’s most prominent bands was performing together after its brief hiatus. Vishal Dadlani and the Pentagram gang delivered just like back in the day.
Fans came in by the thousands as Incubus came on stage and instantaneously broke out into a barrage of their greatest hits before summoning the crowd to sing to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”, which the band played their own cover of followed by the original.
By Day 3, it was pretty clear what the code for party meant. It meant, head to the Spectrum Awakenings stage ’cause there’s another DJ who’s kicking ass! Arjun Vagale, Browncoat, Dax J and more, lay waste to the techno stage by completely dominating and captivating the festival with their beats.
A phenomenal highlight of the Laborataire Supersonique stage had to be that of Gabriel & Dresden’s phenomenal trance dominated set that summed up the Vh1 Supersonic 2018 journey quite aptly.
Hands down the coolest place to be. The Super Flea was a gourmet paradise mixed with shopping, chilling and therapeutic treatments. Curated by renowned names in the festival scene, the Super Flea carried a bohemian vibe to it, apt for the crowd that it was catering to.
Food options were aplenty; name it and you could find it. Apart from the usual festival fare that comprises of pizzas, burgers, rolls and pastas, you could also find some delectable Naga fare, sushi, chocolate pops, wood-fired pizza and more. Cool Story cocktails were a hit with all. Free water was generously available, courtesy Brijeel Aqua. This served as one of the biggest saving graces at Vh1 Supersonic as temperatures in the afternoon were slightly north of being pleasantly warm and the refreshing water stops did ensure a safe experience. Furthermore, it is commendable that Vh1 Supersonic understands the need of its patrons and caters perfectly to it. With festival experiences around India aiming at massive stages, artists, and destinations, paying attention to something as basic and human as serving water adequately makes all the difference.
The Sherp made sure to take a rejuvenating foot massage at Sukho Thai and took shelter in the cosy Destress tent during the peak hours under the afternoon sun. The Flea Market housed The Souled Store stall with exclusive Supersonic merchandise, the Eco Femme stall, a Tarot session by the Woodstock Witch, a hair and makeup counter, and a few more cool stalls.
Installations by students of Symbiosis Institute of Design were eye-catching and interactive, making for fun photo ops. Not to mention the giant teddy bear at the centre that also served as a comfy sitting point.
The Play Zone
Boys will be boys. But girls will be girls too. Which is why the play zone was such a delight for attendees across all ages. A giant see-saw that can fit 10 on board, a jungle gym for those brave enough to try, the mechanical bull for the adventure enthusiasts, Velcro wall and more. There was a super slide by Fastrack and swing sets that felt right out of a fairytale stationed away from the play zone. The zone also had a Lost & Found counter and the #DoTheRightThing Store where people could exchange plastic and paper cups for a voucher. The Beer Garden was located right in the centre of the zone, and people had a ball of a time fuelling up between acts.
The Vh1 Supersonic After Hours took place at the Super Flea between 10-11:30 pm each night right after the performances ended and ensured that while the performances had to end, the energy didn’t have to wind down.
Ladies & Specially-Abled
Women had it going good for them at the festival. The Ladies Bar was a delightful addition and it was stationed right by the Live stage. It also had a beauty booth inside where women got to prep up at leisure. Glitter was a hit with the ladies and there was tons of it to slather on. Pee-Buddy was generously available for women to use so they did not have to worry about sharing a toilet seat or squatting. The Women’s Safety Squad were present and on high alert, but we did not encounter any unruly activities.
The specially-abled folks had a special section to view the acts at, so they did not feel overshadowed by the crowd around them.
Four awesome after-parties at four of the hottest venues across the city ensured that Vh1 Supersonic party mongers could party all night to some of the greatest acts off the #SuperLineup. Whatever your musical taste – hip hop, techno, live music or EDM, the Vh1 Supersonic After parties were for everyone. Hard Rock Cafe Pune, Unwind, Mix@36, and The House of Medici were the venues playing host to the #SuperAfterParties.
All In All
Vh1 Supersonic 2018 gave us no reason to complain whatsoever. It was enchanting, outstanding and every positive adjective that can cover a dictionary. We’re giving it a Sherp rating of 10 out of 10. Something this unbelievably good deserves nothing less.
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Stay tuned to the Sherp until next time! 🙂
PC: Swaraj Sriwastav