Telangana’s Sunburn Festival Faces Chilly Reception Under New Congress Rule
Hyderabad’s Premier Music Festival Struggles Amidst Political Transition
Once embraced under the warmth of government approval, Telangana’s iconic Sunburn music festival now confronts a frosty reception from the state’s newly installed Congress administration. This abrupt shift in attitude starkly contrasts with the festival’s decade-long affiliation with the former Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government.]
Seeds of Change Planted by Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy
The catalyst for this transformation lies in Chief Minister and Congress President A. Revanth Reddy’s objection to the New Year’s Eve event ticket sales on BookMyShow before official permissions were granted. Reddy cited concerns over drug culture, underage access to alcohol, and past incidents of drug overdose-related deaths linked to the festival. Consequently, he initiated a crackdown on events promoting drugs and advocated for stricter control over banned substances.
Contrasting Eras: BRS Support vs. Congress Opposition
This shift in perspective stands in stark contrast to the BRS era, where Sunburn enjoyed enthusiastic backing. In 2014, then-IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao played a pivotal role in bringing the festival to Hyderabad, envisioning the city as a leisure destination. Sunburn subsequently became a fixture, attracting internationally renowned artists like Martin Garrix and Alan Walker.
Shadow of Tragedy: Sunburn’s Association with Drug-Related Incidents
However, the festival’s association with drug-related tragedies casts a long shadow over its legacy. In 2019, three youths lost their lives at the Goa leg of the event, while a 24-year-old died under suspicious circumstances at the Hyderabad edition. These incidents fueled opposition from the Congress, who consistently voiced concerns about the festival potentially promoting drug use among young people.
Uncertain Future: Sunburn’s Destiny Hangs by a Thread
With the red carpet rolled back and New Year’s Eve plans uncertain, Sunburn’s future in Telangana hangs by a thread. The Congress government’s stance reflects a growing societal concern about drug abuse, prioritizing safety over entertainment. Meanwhile, Sunburn organizers grapple with the challenge of addressing these concerns and navigating the shifting political landscape to secure their place in the state’s festive calendar.
Interplay of Politics, Public Health, and Entertainment
The Sunburn saga in Telangana underscores the intricate interplay between politics, public health, and entertainment. As the new year approaches, the question remains whether the music festival can adapt to the changing tune or fade into the background, its once vibrant melody silenced by the cold winds of political scrutiny.