For a major chunk of the decade gone by, Mumbai folk were quick to term the emergence of Pune -- compelled to find its identity in the wake of commercialisation -- an attempt to mimic the former. But throw Pune into an artistic parade, like the VH1 Supersonic, and you notice that the city has a distinctiveness that bears little resemblance to our own. Unlike the weary and disheveled office-goers turning up to attend the Sheeran and Bieber concerts in Mumbai, Pune is certain to make a sartorial statement at its festivals. Glittered faces, elaborate headgears and trails are mere accessories of a city that, as producer Viacom 18's Saugato Bhowmik says, "really knows its music. One can't say, 'I am only a rock fan'", adds Bhowmik in a bid to highlight that Indian music aficionados are comparatively more open to binging on multi-genre music than fans in several other countries. "There may be an affection for rock, but there will also be a liking for funk, electronic or pop. We can't stand for only one kind of music. Thus, even though we were born as an EDM festival, we included a diverse range of genres available for fans this year," he says.
The Marshmello's performance; (below) Sean Paul
The starry line-up of artistes -- including Major Lazer, Marshmello, Sean Paul and Incubus, among others - is testimony to the inclusion of genres that have rarely defined the six-year-old gig. Each of the four arenas at the venue brimmed as an array of Indian and international musicians dropped their beats against a visually magnificent backdrop, only enhanced by the use of the strobe lights. Aptly situated screens ensured that fans trickling in could still set their eyes on the artistes whilst enjoying the delivery on the sound system.
Turning up on day 2, Marshmello enjoyed the undivided attention of his fans, chiefly college-going kids, as they spilled over from the primary arena. On Sunday, Indian record producer Zaeden delivered a beautiful set -- complete with rehashed versions of Havana, Shape Of You and Attention, among others -- to a comparatively thin audience at an early 4.15 pm. Says Zaeden "I love these songs. Some people might hate them because they've heard them often. But that's me and I try to be myself when I'm on stage," he tells mid-day on the sidelines of his act. Zaeden also marked his debut live singing act at the festival, ahead of his upcoming solo for Valentines Day. "It's a mash-up of all my favourite [love] songs. There's Dust Till Dawn [Zayn], Perfect by Ed Sheeran and two songs by James Arthur. It will essentially feature me singing." Incubus put up a distinctive and mesmerising act to an audience that was sure to sing along. Sean Paul didn't disappoint, instantly setting the audience grooving with his act. He belted out hits, including Give It Up To Me and Hey Sexy Lady.