Colombo is no stranger to big music acts. Despite its size, the beach paradise often has international superstars — from Sean Paul to Lionel Richie and even Shreya Goshal — flocking to its capital city to make some serious noise. Even the master of teenybopper squeals, Enrique Iglesias, is making his way to the island in under a fortnight.
But something else has been brewing in Sri Lanka since 2010 and it isn’t just Orange Pekoe Fannings. The Electronic Peacock Festival, held at the Taj Samudra hotel, just opposite the beach on Galle Face Road, is looking to bring the enviable British festival spirit to Sri Lanka.
The recently concluded concert even saw Grammy-magnet Mark Ronson share the stage with hip hop and breakbeat maestro, DJ Yoda. “We want to give Sri Lanka a festival experience that goes beyond the one-off, big name acts that perform to packed audiences and leave,” says Tasha Marikkar, co-founder of the festival.
Sisters Leah Bazalgette and Tasha Marikkar got the idea for EPF whilst watching Blur at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in England in 2009. Having cut their teeth working behind the scenes at concerts at the O2 Arena in London and at Glastonbury for years before coming home, Leah and Tasha came back to Colombo to kick off three editions of EPF. Since 2010, they’ve successfully hosted Basement Jaxx, Roger Sanchez, Chicane and Tinie Tempah, who’ve performed to ecstatic crowds in the city.
Despite El Nino’s storm clouds brewing over Colombo, festival-goers came out in costumes, face paint, fairy wings and masks to party till the silly hours. The Peacockers, as they’re called, got involved with an inflatable petting zoo and artists from the Academy of Design painted murals all through the night.
Previous editions have seen close to 5,000 people attend, but thanks to the weather gods playing spoilsport with rain, the crowds dwindled at this year’s event. But size isn’t everything. After four editions under their belt, Electric Peacock Festival is the one Sri Lankan fest to watch out for. Presently, the organizers are even in talks with similar organizations in India and Thailand to build a South Asian festival circuit. All in all, watch this space. (Courtesy GQ India)