It’s called the pub city for a reason. Yet, slowly, those reasons are encountering hindrances that might just make the city’s moniker invalid! The Silicon Valley of India offers a global milieu of music and masti, but with the ban on live bands (yet again), the city’s pub owners and music hubs are up in arms. Not just is it the character of a bustling city — its cultural and music scene, it is also a revenue getter. Now, the lives of these venues and the people who work there are in jeopardy.
The police has ordered a shutdown of 27 leisure joints in Bengaluru for playing live music without a license as a 13-year-old law (some call archaic) kicks in after being upheld by the Supreme Court in January. Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar had said in various reports that places that have music, recorded or live would be termed as places of public entertainment.
He goes on to say that these places will have to register and apply for licenses. These regulations have been put in place for the safety and security of the people, he had added in reports.
The new rules would be easy to follow if they were more flexible feels Viraj Suvarna, managing director and owner, Take 5, who elaborates, “It’s not just pubs which have live bands/music that have been served notice, but also pubs which play recorded music! For 70 to 80 percent of the pubs, the requirements/certificates which are needed are impossible to get. Especially for the older pubs situated in older buildings. The commissioner needs to be a little flexible. Applications are being rejected and pubs are being threatened with closure. We are talking about a close to 1,000 pubs being asked to shut down.”
Taking away the very essence of Bengaluru, Dheeraj Kumar, managing director, Pablo’s Gastro Bar, says, “Bars, pubs and any place that haslive performances generates the highest revenue for the government. This is the only industry that has to comply with the rules of over 42 department in the government. The problem with the law is that it’s outdated. Just like how women empowerment has evolved over the years, unfortunately, this law is still the same, and has not evolved. Live music places are the biggest platforms for upcoming musicians. By closing down these venues, the government is taking away the very essence of Bengaluru. For any tourist that visits the city, such places are a showcase of a city. This is definitely not a welcome move.”
Amrapali Shinde, a live musician predicts that this move will see a grave backlash for any live music performer. “Our day-to-day bread is dependant on live performances. Recording in a studio doesn’t earn a live musician as much money. And this move will be a death knell for musicians. Many five star hotels in and around Bengaluru require a license to have live music performances. It’s going to affect us because if this happens, our market is going to go down and its going to be difficult for us.”
Music, be it recorded or live comes under the category of public entertainment according to the law. Such venues are expected to apply for licenses and while the authorities feel that it is important to abide by these regulations that are in place for the safety and security of the people, the hospitality industry, musicians and even general public are up in arms against such archaic rules...