Bad News from Goa

Author: Pamela / Shamanelectro
Date: Jan 1, 2006
Views: 7069

It's almost official now. The famous open air raves of

Panaji, Dec 30: It\\\'s almost official now. The famous open air raves of
Anjuna have all but fallen silent, giving way to a newer money spinning
club culture that rides on the ghost of that reputation.

X\\\'Mas night -- which two years ago would have seen at least three raves
in the undulating ocean front landscape of Anjuna --- was silent night
in the queen of rave destinations.

\\\"Armed police force were posted at all of the four main rave haunts in
Anjuna\\\", says Dr Jawaharlal Hendriques, a one time party organiser.

Police headquarters in the capital back up the story. \\\"We allowed no
raves this year,\\\" says deputy inspector general of police Ujjwal Mishra,
delivering on the official tourism policy of no-raves.

For the Anjuna-Chapora beach hamlets that\\\'s a major turn of the clock.

In the early \\\'ninetees, Anjuna was the birth place of Goa Trance, a
whole new subculture of techno music put together by a legendary Anjuna
hippie-musician resident, Goa Gill.

Blending electronic trance rythm music to the older full moon hippie
beach parties -- Anjuna and therabouts became the Mecca for Goa trance
ravers world over, drawing backpackers and party ravers in their
thousands for the all night-all morning raves with its attendant
excesses and problems.

Raves divided the bustling tourist villages like nothing before.

Those who dreaded the noise bombarded the press with complaint letters
and the police with night phone calls to implement late night sound
bans, that had got tighter as sound systems got louder and raves
unmanageably more frequent.

Local chai vendors, snack sellers, bar owners, organisers and other
stakeholders however gave raves the thumbs-up.

Unrelenting media focus and an official tourism policy that wanted to
turn Goa into an upmarket high-spending holiday spot, frowned on the
bohemian backpackers and the rave culture.

Result: In 2005, of the 355 parties listed on GoaTrance party websites
for raves across the world, not one listed Goa.

A single rave held in Arambol Christmas week 2005, north of Anjuna, drew
some crowds but nothing like the 20,000 ravers per party the area was
once infamous for. Anjuna\\\'s millenium raves attracted over 200,000
western and Israeli ravers and in many ways proved to be the turning
point for this party destination.

Times have simply changed.

The free walk-in open air raves are almost extinct, party bonhomie under
the stars is over. In its place are a proliferation of clubs that still
play trance music, but mix the repertoire to cater to varied taste --
sometimes hip hop, evissa house, fusion, even bale bale and \\\"Bollywood
nights\\\" for the largely urban Indian club hopper, who wanted a bit of
Goa\\\'s rave action but are now stuck with its monetised version.

Since it\\\'s trendy, no one\\\'s complaining. Page 3 celebs, Bollywood,
professionals from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad make one
long beeline for Goa\\\'s clubs.

Almost all of the western budget backpackers that favoured the small
one-room guesthouses, or hung around street \\\'chai\\\' shops in neighbouring
Chapora and Vagator beach have moved further north and south to quieter
areas, and most give Goa\\\'s New Year party scene a complete skip.

\\\"Anjuna got 80% backpackers earlier. But they came with their
limitations, they hardly spent\\\" says Nandan Kudchadkar who runs
Paradiso, a nightclub poised on a wind-blown Anjuna cliff top.

Paradiso still brings in international DJs to dish out Goa Trance in its
birthplace -- some of them playing unreleased soundtracks to its largely
western customers.

The club\\\'s New Year marketing pitch harks back to a \\\"new moon party\\\" ---
a hint of nostalgia for the full-moon parties of the \\\'seventies hippie
flower children that first made Goa internationally famous. \\\"Only now
the crowd is more upmarket\\\", says Kudchadkar, in a candid interview.

Paradiso now competes with 20 other clubs in the north Goa belt -- at
least six of them opened in the past six months, one as recently as a
month and half back.

Goa\\\'s oldest club -- Tito\\\'s -- still has a formidable reputation but it
has had to share market space and like other clubs give \\\"add-on
attractions\\\" in expensive acrobats, special fireworks, fire eaters et

Still at Rs 600 to Rs 5000 cover price that club hoppers cough up during
New Year\\\'s week long party, clubowners reckon their costs even out.

If clubbers are 40% of the tourist inflow during New Year\\\'s week -- as
one estimate surmises -- that\\\'s a lot of clubbers and serious business.

By Pamela D\\\'Mello - Shamanelectro

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