The Melodic Journey: Indian Music Enthusiasts Trek Across Asia for Live Concerts

As the first week of March unfolds, the air in Singapore is alive with the melodies of Taylor Swift’s hits like ‘Cruel Summer’ and ‘Karma’. The Singaporean streets practically hum with her tunes, leading up to her much-anticipated The Eras Tour concert. Among the international crowd is Shreya Sridhar, a marketing and communications consultant from Chennai, who made the journey to witness Swift live. She recalls an “incredible” pre-concert scene—a sea of ‘Swifties’ lounging on picnic blankets, crafting exchangeable bracelets in what has become a tradition for Swift’s concerts.

The phenomenon isn’t isolated. Social media has been awash with posts from Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres tour stops in Singapore and Thailand, and now Swift’s engagement in Singapore. Mumbai is also on the cusp of welcoming Ed Sheeran, hot on the heels of Lollapalooza 2024 hosting an ensemble of world-renowned acts like Sting, Keane, and Halsey.

An increasing number of Indians are leaning into the concept of music tourism or “gig tripping,” energized by the prospect of combining their travel plans with live music events. They journey out of their hometowns and beyond, showcasing their willingness to travel for the live music experience.

Renjie Wong of the Singapore Tourism Board notes a surge in Indians exploring travel oriented towards live concerts, spiking interest in the region. January, though not traditionally a peak season, saw an increase in flight inquiries coinciding with Coldplay’s concert dates. Given the visa-free entry for Indians to Thailand and the easy accessibility to Singapore, music fans find the region particularly appealing.

Planning for these musical escapades can be quite an endeavor, with ticket sales opening up to six months in advance, requiring swift actions in online queues. Chennai law student Sanjana Shankar recounts her triumphant four-hour virtual queue battle to secure tickets for Swift’s concert, a testament to the high demand and commitment among fans.

The scale of these events is evident in various aspects. Ticket prices for The Eras Tour ranged from 88 SGD for a limited view to a massive 1,228 SGD for VIP access. Shankar spent about 248 SGD on her tickets and allocated approximately ₹50,000 for a five-day stay, classifying the expenditure as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience.

Anticipation for upcoming concerts not only buzzes at the event locales but starts much earlier. Supply chain specialist Atasi Giri narrates the palpable excitement during her flight to Bangkok for Coldplay’s concert, underscoring that the destinations themselves transform into hubs of fan fervor.

Travel companies, such as Thomas Cook, report a significant increase in music travel trends, facilitated by factors such as visa leniency and all-inclusive event packages. Additionally, travel companies have introduced various plans to make these experiences more affordable, including EMI payment options for budget-conscious fans.

How can travelers make the most of these musical journeys? Tips such as opting for group travel to attain better accommodation rates and securing refundable flight tickets are recommended due to the early timing of concert ticket sales.

The appetite for live music has dramatically surged post-pandemic with an array of Indian and international acts touring the country, coupled with music festivals growing in popularity. From Sunburn to VH1 Supersonic, India’s music festival scene is thriving.

India’s live entertainment sector is radiating a newfound strength, encompassing an impressive 2x increase in ticket sales alongside a notable expansion into tier 2 and tier 3 cities. These trends reveal the country’s emerging status as a key market for global artists, reflecting a burgeoning youth demographic eager for live entertainment.

The allure of witnessing favorite artists in the flesh is propelling a new stride in travel adventures. Whether it is a short flight across Asian borders or a musical escapade closer to home, the live concert experience is a siren call for Indian music aficionados, uniting them in a chorus of shared passion and unforgettable memories.

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