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Reshma Krishnan Barshikar

You know the saying? Early bird gets the best seats at the cheapest prices. And early bird prices are almost done for some of the best festivals happening over the holiday period. So here’s a list of tickets you should be booking so that you can spend all that extra cash on the little incidentals that make festivals so special. Booze? No we’re talking about 50 SPF sunscreen for Goa so you don’t turn as red as a lobster or enough money for Margaret Atwood’s entire collection for autographs at the Jaipur Lit Fest.

Sunburn Music Festival (27th -30th December 2015):
No introduction needed here. What began as small two-day event in 2007 has now turned into an EDM juggernaut and the biggest and baddest EDM, nay music festival, in Asia and a brand name that has perhaps become a little too big for its bohemian boots, so much so the phase 2 tickets have sold out despite no confirmed lineup. You can however book Sunburn tickets through the festival’s official international portal Viagogo or through BookMyShow’s offline channel partners. Ticket prices are Rs 8,950 for general entry and Rs 15,000 for VIP, which gives you access to the AfterBurn afterparties.

Accommodation: While tickets to debauchery might still be available in a month or so, stay is a whole other ball game because of the annual countrywide winter migration regardless of whether people happen to be breaking leg with you or paragliding. Even if you happen to be in two minds about booking tickets, we would book cancellable rooms immediately before hotels decide they want to take you for a ride. Luxury rooms at the Park Calangute in Goa, for instance, are still at a respectable Rs 10,000, excluding taxes.

NH7 Weekender Pune (December 4th -6th):
Gargantuan crowds not your thing? Then you need head to NH7 Weekender Pune to soak in some winter sunshine and some Flying Lotus. Gasp! You heard me, the biggest act in jazz electronic today is coming to namba Pune (had to sneak in some Tamil for effect), just a few hours away from you and you cannot miss it. Line up includes A R Rahman, Mark Ronson as well as our Mumbai favorite, Madboy Mink. Regular Phase 1 three-day tickets are going at a discounted Rs 3,500. So book now via the official website.

Jaipur Literature Festival (21st January -25th January 2016):
Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s a complete mess and attracts a footfall of over 50,000 a day but the line up was just announced and Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, Indian author Ruskin Bond, American photographic Steve McCurry, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and Stephen Fry from Britain. Yes, I know I had you at Margaret Atwood. So early bird tickets just opened and are available from our website and will be open till November 1st. ‘But but it’s free,’ you exclaim loudly clutching your wallet. Yes, but being a delegate is so much better. Imagine having lunch with Stephen Fry or a sharing a glass of wine with Steve McCurry. If you’re a photographer, you probably died just then. Food is included and so is a copious amount of wine courtesy of an open bar during the day. The delegate section is also a great place to escape the massive crowds and people watch while Rajasthani folk musicians serenade you. You also get access to the music concerts and the writers ball, open bar and food included.

Accommodation: Again, much like Sunburn, the issue lies in accommodation so book now. Don’t stay at Diggi Palace, which would be like trying to sleep in the middle of a maelstrom. While the delegate pass is good for a great many things, including a free goodie bag, their hotel discounts don’t amount to much. Opt for one of Jaipur’s many heritage hotels like JasVilas, Arya Niwas, Tara Niwas, Alsisar Haveli, Narain Niwas or Megh Niwas.

If you’re planning on visiting music festivals in India this holiday season you should check our event list here.

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