Live events business was one of the worst-hit sectors in the media & entertainment industry during Covid. Unlike other sectors of the M&E industry, which recovered and touched pre-Covid levels in terms of revenues in the last two years, organized live events segment could recover only 20% revenues in 2021, as per the FICCI EY 2022 report.
While the category picked up momentum in 2022, 2023 is likely to speed up the segment's growth journey as there are several big live events that will take place this year, Vh1 Supersonic being one of them. The music festival is returning after a gap of three years.
Vh1 Supersonic, which will open on February 24, has already onboarded multiple partners, including Budweiser as the title sponsor, NEXA as co-powered by and JBL as audio partner. Other brands that have partnered with the fest include Jimmy’s Cocktails, MakeMyTrip, Under25, Slim Jim, Gold’s Gym, Impressario and Ajio.
Speaking on the category and the festival, Gaurav Mashruwala, Business Head, Viacom18 LIVE (Integrated Network Solutions), shared that the category of live events and experiences as a whole has exploded. “Overall, there has been a significant increase in the live experiences and event space, whether B2C or B2B, post Covid.”
Mashruwala believes that 2023 will be a good year for the category. However, he shares that players in the space will have to rethink how they're doing their experiences and events. “There will still be a large number of shows and events, but the manner in which they are carried out and the capacity in which they are carried out will have to be reconsidered by each owner of a brand or experiential company.”
Vh1 Supersonic artistes line-up
This year will witness international pop star Anna-Marie, global trend setter TYGA and internet sensation Chukwuka Ekweani, aka CKay, headlining Vh1 Supersonic 2023. These globally recognized artistes will be performing live in Pune along with an amazing line-up of indie artistes.
“It began as an EDM and techno-based festival in terms of music genres, but over time, we realised that music consumption has changed and that people in India are listening to a wide range of music genres. We also began to broaden those genres. In 2020, we transitioned into a multi-genre music festival, and we will continue to do so this year. In addition to EDM and techno, VH1 Supersonic will feature hip hop, reggae, indie and multiple genres of music,” said Mashruwala. He said there has been a growth in terms of the music genres that the festival wants to tap into because that's what the consumer demands today.
Curating one-of-its-kind experiences, Budweiser Beats is bringing back the Budweiser Beer Garden along with their Techno and House stage; BUDX Spectrum.
Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality will not only have the self-programmed SOCIAL stage with SOCIAL-dedicated bars across the festival but there will be an exciting integration: curation of the Superflea with specially curated experiences and pop-ups by restaurants under the Impresario portfolio such as SOCIAL, Salt Water Café, Slink & Bardot, Boss Burger, Lucknowee, Prithvi Cafe & many more
The Superflea will also feature a few brands that are ‘Friends of Impresario’.
Mashruwala said, “We have seen a shift in consumers wanting to have a great experience. If one is going for a festival for three days with friends, one is obviously looking at not just listening to great music but also looking at having a great time.”
He further added, “Experience at the festival over that three-day period becomes something that we have been curating very carefully to ensure that people who come have a great time.''
Mashruwala shared that they launched Super Street in the 2020 edition with fashion and art experience, and this time they are doing a massive Super Street with Sunday Soul Sante and NRYTA.
While NRYTA will take care of the art portion where they will also be doing an immersive art 3D showcase, Sante is doing the entire fashion piece. Between both of them, they will have more than 100 designers in the fashion and art space who will be showcasing.
Response from partners
Some of the brands that have previously participated with us and been our partners, such as Budweiser and JBL, have all returned, shared Mashruwala.
He added, “In terms of brands, we are seeing new interest from brands who have never tried Supersonic before. So we have Nexa, Ajio, and Jimmy'z Cocktail participating this time. So, overall, I'd say the response from brands has been excellent.”
The festival’s entry ticket for the first day is priced at Rs 999 and the VIP ticket is priced at Rs 1999. For three days, the entry ticket is priced at Rs 4299 and the VIP ticket is priced at Rs 5999. (Prices are different for different days)
He said, “Overall, we have not raised our prices from the last edition. We wanted our fan base to return, and we also recognise that during Covid, people have faced various financial challenges. I believe that the entry ticket price is the most reasonable in this market for any festival of this size.”
He further added, “Supersonic as a festival has always tried to make music and lifestyle accessible to everyone.”
He concluded, “With the inclusion of our new large experiences, we are seeing that that response is only expanding.”