Bengaluru’s indie music gigs have few takers

Musicians say it is difficult to get regular gigs in the city and payments are not made on time either.

Bengaluru, which has always had a history of encouraging and supporting live performances, is now seen as a less-than-ideal venue because of stringent laws and small paychecks for musicians. 


Guitarist Raghuraman Ramasubramanian
has been in the industry for 10 years.

Though there are a good number of pubs, music bars and venues which host live music events and provide opportunities for local bands, musicians say that it is difficult to eke out a living from this.

“There is a lot of scope for musicians to create and blend into the existing social diaspora but there is a dearth of people willing to take a step towards educating people about and providing for performing arts,” says Raghuraman Ramasubramanian, a city-based guitarist and bassist, who has been part of the music scene for over 10 years and has played with artistes like Louiz Banks, Lucky Ali, Taufeeq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi.

He adds, “The laws in Bengaluru aren’t uniform and can change at anyone’s whim. A big part of any performance is freedom of expression, which has been curbed in the city in a few times.”

Sanoli Chowdhury, an upcoming singer and songwriter, says, “If you play a gig at one of the venues, then you have to wait for quite some time to get another gig in the same city.”

 Both bands and soloist face similar issues, multi-instrumentalist Soorya Praveen points out. “For bands to get shows, it’s mostly about networking, mailing venues about slots, making as many connections as possible and selling your musical act as a well-furnished product.”

With venues needing separate licences to function as a venue and as a bar, there is a state of confusion. “It is in a very disorganised state now. However, all the big venues in the city still manage to run effectively as long as they meet all the regulations,” says Soorya Praveen.

Payments are usually delayed

Most often the tickets sales are split by the performing bands and the venue makes money through the bar sales. When it comes to payments, Raghuram notes that only BFlat and Windmill Craftworks make payments on time. “All the others employ the corporate model of paying within six weeks. Most payments come with tax deductions that are never paid to the government by the venue. Being on time is not a habit in Bengaluru.”

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