The Goa Sunsplash Festival – India’s first festival dedicated to reggae and sound system culture – is set to shake the very foundations of Anjuna’s Nyex Beach on Saturday 16 January.

Organized by New Delhi crew Reggae Rajahs, there is a varied international lineup featuring headliner General Levy [UK] along with Naâman [FR], Steppa Style [RU], and Dub Smugglers [UK] amongst others. Additionally, coming from all over India are Delhi Sultanate, Dakta Dub, King Jassim and EZ Riser.

Based out of Hong Kong, The Groove Thief is making the trip over to Goa to represent NiceUp, interview participating artists, and of course enjoy the day-long festival as well as three other official pre and post-parties. He recently spoke with Diggy Dang of the Reggae Rajahs to find out more about the festival, reggae in India, and the crew’s brand new 10,000 Lions Soundsystem.

TGT: Goa’s obviously been home to beach parties for decades now, so why is a “celebration of sound system culture” appropriate to kick-start 2016? And what has led Reggae Rajahs to start their own festival?

DD: We have always dreamt of having a reggae festival in India. But since the scene here is pretty much in its infancy we had to wait for the right time. Now we have a community of reggae lovers and supporters in Goa and [the] rest of India.  This festival has been curated and organized by Reggae Rajahs, but of course we have a team of people supporting us from all over India.

The celebration of sound system culture is because for the first time we have a custom built sound system dedicated to play reggae music. When people hear reggae and dub on the 10,000 Lions Sound system they will understand and enjoy this music even more.

TGT: So what can you tell us about the sound, and how did the New Year’s Eve session go?

DD: 10,000 Lions Sound System is a collaborative project with Reggae Rajahs and the engineers and makers of the sound Petah Sunday (I-Tal Soup Records), Filufferoots & Realoveution Sound (Sardina), and Ninja Dread (Sweden).

We had our first sound session on New Year’s Eve and it sounded epic. We were happy with our first sound check. We can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear it.

TGT: Delhi Sultanate and his crew are also trying to crowdfund a sound system right now, so it seems from afar that the reggae scene in India is increasingly strong. Is this really true, and what difficulties are you facing as reggae ambassadors so far from Jamaica?

DD: The main difficulty is that Indians had never been exposed to this music before we started to promote it. It’s a slow and gradual process for them to accept and enjoy this music. But organically over the years, there has been a growing fan base.

TGT: There’s quite the lineup for Goa Sunsplash. Who are you most looking forward to hearing?

DD: General Levy all the way. We have been trying to book him in India for years!

He is a very busy man and in high demand. As a veteran in the scene, he will really showcase his skills on the sound system with great finesse.

TGT: Finally, any advice to festival goers or people who are contemplating a last minute flight out to Goa?

DD: Come with an open mind as this music is something new. This festival will go down in history as the first of its kind, so be part of it and support the scene!

More info:
Goa Sunsplash website
Goa Sunsplash Facebook

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