Ever since we reportedly crossed our first COVID-19 peak in mid-September, life has been different. Movie theatres are now open for business (whether or not anyone visits is a different story), so are restaurants. People are venturing out cautiously (at least that's the assumption), with some even opting for short getaways to secluded hilly regions and beaches.
In the middle of all this, the organisers of the annual Sunburn music festival on Sunday dropped the dates for this year's event. Taking to Twitter, the official Sunburn Festival account posted that it would be returning with a "completely new avatar" from 27-29 December.
Pandemic? What pandemic?
Now, it's one thing to justify opening up of restaurants and other businesses that are a regular source of employment for a majority of people... but music a festival? Do we really *need* one?
So I looked up Sunburn Goa's list of safety protocols for this year and..
Protocol Number 1: "No Entry Without Aarogya Setu App Check/Scan"
I think the organisers of Sunburn probably didn't get the memo... but Aarogya Setu has kinda been cancelled ever since the government itself admitted that it's not sure of who exactly made the app.
Making the app mandatory for festival-goers puts their privacy and information at a HUGE risk. How is that okay??
Protocol Number 2: "Wearing a Face Mask Is Compulsory Throughout the Festival"
Seems a little impractical, no? The WHO has already advised against wearing a face mask while working out.. and attending a concert where you're constantly dancing and grooving to music seems similarly strenuous.
Moreover, it's just not practical to trust a huge group of people to keep their masks on for long hours for three days straight.
Protocol 3: "Social Distancing Is To Be Maintained at All Times"
Totally makes sense, but here's some food for thought..
Protocol number 4: "A Negative COVID Test May be Required"
In September, Goa announced that tourists visiting the state would no longer require a negative COVID-19 test result for entry. Ever since, residents of the state have been dreading the unrestricted inflow of tourists and requesting people to not visit Goa unless it's absolutely necessary.
Does Sunburn care?
What About Goa?
No one's denying that the events sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic but to invite people from across the country to convene in one place and freely interact with each is just ... irresponsible.
On one hand, it might be a little beneficial for the tourism industry, but on the other, it might put unnecessary pressure on Goa's limited resources, you know?
What's The Problem With Going Virtual?
I'm not saying I have anything against music festivals. If you want to celebrate the spirit of music, do it virtually! Over the last 7-8 months, our entire lives have transitioned to a virtual set up and as daunting as that might be, we've found spaces of comfort there as well.
Bacardi NH7 Weekend 2020, another popular music festival that is attended by people from all over the country, has gone completely virtual this year. So what's stopping Sunburn Goa from trying to be a *little* responsible at least?