Sun, sand and song makes Goa the ideal destination for music lovers. With plenty of outdoor events taking place throughout the year, now is the time to start planning your holiday to enjoy Goa’s most eclectic music festivals.
Goa comes to life in December as the weather is just perfect and the party scene, endless. Touted as Asia’s biggest electronic dance music festival (EDM), Sunburn Festival (27th to 29th December 2019) is also the third largest dance festival in the world. Unlike its name, you won’t experience a sunburn, but can expect a fine tan after all the outdoor feet-tapping!
Here’s where you get unforgettable sounds, colossal stage productions, and incredible visuals. While there is plenty of tasty cuisine with local flavours and beverages at numerous stalls, the festival also features action-packed offerings such as zorbing and hot-air balloons. Get into the action yourself by joining a drum circle at Sunburn’s pre-event workshops.
Sitting high on North Goa’s Vagator Beach, next to the famous party destination of Hilltop, Vagator, this festival boasts a line-up of world-renowned artists such as Paul Oakenfold, David Guetta and Carl Cox along with a host of India’s best-known electronic acts.
The line-up for all music festivals can change at the last minute but your Hilton Concierge will be able to confirm the acts performing on the day.
Sunburn Festival | Website: www.sunburn.in
This boutique Goa party in Chronicle – a high-end beach bar in the idyllic town of Little Vagator – features underground music that ranges from techno to deep house. Krank Goa (27th to 29th December 2019, pictured at the top of this article) sits etched into the cliff face on Vagator Beach overlooking the spectacular Arabian Sea.
Experience a mix of laser lights, fire dancers, creative cocktails, and the sound of waves crashing in the background as you dance to the beat on the sand.
The party continues until 4am each morning. Chronicle completes the experience with a peaceful Sunday yoga session from 8 to 9.30am. Festival goers can also take a quick dip followed by an indulgent Champagne brunch.
Krank Goa | Website: www.electronic-festivals.com/event/krank-goa
Think reggae, soul music and dreadlocks, and you have Goa Sunsplash (10th to12th January, 2020) on Ashwem Beach. This reggae-and-dub festival on the sun-drenched beaches of North Goa has a peace, love and unity theme. This Jamaican-inspired event covers music, art and dance, plus a selection of wellness programmes.
Famous for its relaxed vibe, this Goa festival is a great opportunity to mingle with locals and visitors from around the world.
Stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Goa – Arpora – Baga, which is located close to the three festival spots in North Goa. You’ll save travel time as the roads tend to get busy in December and January.
Goa Sunsplash | Website: www.goasunsplash.com
Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival
Celebrating unity through music, this multicultural festival features cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, santoor (an Indian instrument of 100 strings), violin, Indian classical, Goa songs and other spellbinding musical forms.
It is very fitting that the Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival is located in Old Goa, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site. Make sure you take the time to visit the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesus and the domed 17th-century Church of St Cajetan when in Old Goa.
The festival brings these ancient structures to life with musicians from across the world including those from countries like Spain, UK, Poland, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Portugal and, of course, India. Festival dates are usually announced in November.
When visiting the Ketevan festival or the Goa Carnival (see below), stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Goa – Panaji. Overlooking the peaceful Mandovi River, the hotel is a short drive from the city centre, Miramar and Goa beaches, and just a few minutes from Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa.
Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival | Website: ketevanmusicfestiv.wixsite.com/ketevan
The most famous event in the state, Goa Carnival dates back to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1510. Decorated streets, musical parades and locals in spectacular costumes bring Panaji to life during the Carnival (22nd to 25th February 2020). The highlight is a spectacular parade starring the mythical King Momo; a ‘Party King’ or ‘King of Carnivals’ inspired by Latin American cultures. King Momo sits atop a decorated float to declare the festivities open.
The Goa Carnival is an opportunity to experience and soak in Goan culture first hand. Enjoy the breath-taking melodies unique to Goa – a fusion of local culture and Western music.
Goa Carnival | Website: www.goatourism.gov.in/festivals/other-celebrations/208-carnival
With so much to do and see — and so many festivals to enjoy — you can count on your Concierge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Goa – Panaji to be your local guide and personal assistant.
Ask for directions to festival venues and have them book a car for you; it may be difficult to find a reasonably priced taxi on your return.