Live music debate gets more polyphonic

The Humming Tree in Indiranagar is among the many venues that remain closed to music events. DH Photo by Janardhan B K

An uproar against rampant commercialisation of Indiranagar has resulted in an informal ban on live music. Some of those affected are now talking about a mutually acceptable way out of the imbroglio.

A panel discussion at Vapour Pub and Brewery last week brought together venue owners, lawyers and musicians.

A venue must get multiple licences. After the accident at Kamala Mills, Mumbai, that claimed 14 lives, and another at Kalasipalyam in Bengaluru that claimed five lives, fire safety rules have become more stringent, said Akshat Prasad, owner of Vapour.

“We have set up hydrants, sprinklers, built a dedicated sump with water, and provided hose pipes on every floor. Now the licence is delayed as the deputy director of fire services retired last month and we are waiting for a new official,” he explained.

Nikhil Barua, owner of The Humming Tree, said the police were insisting on occupancy certificates, something business tenants wouldn’t have.

“All venues are commercial buildings on which taxes have been paid for a number of years, yet suddenly (lack of) a certificate is stopping business for us,” he said.

Property owners ought to have got the certificates, but venue owners and musicians are the ones paying a price, he observed.

“We have closed all music events now and if August continues to be a lull period, we might have to close the space down,” he said.


So how can we resolve this problem?

Bands: ‘Behave responsibly’

Debjeet Basu, member of city-based band Perfect Strangers who began an online campaign that garnered 18,000 signatures, wants the music scene to kick start again.

His suggestions:

Go on joint visits with resident associations to pubs to check decibel levels.

Ensure venues are sound-proofed.

Pub-goers, behave responsibly when it comes to parking and etiquette.

RWAs: ‘Follow all rules’

Jawad A, member of iChange Indiranagar, says, “As long as the music venues follow Supreme Court guidelines, we are fine.

Venue owners: ‘Happy to comply’

Nikhil Barua, owner of The Humming Tree says, “All venue owners are happy to comply with the rules. Just make the process of getting a licence achievable though.”

Put property owners in dock

Sandhya Surendran, lawyer and artist manager, says venues in Bengaluru can’t get music licences because they don’t have occupancy certificates.

“In many cases at the High Court and Supreme Court, the argument that the tenant is not responsible for providing an occupancy certificate has been put forth,” she said. “The courts have passed favourable judgements, and they are being cited in this case also.”

The building blueprints is not something a tenant would have.

All venues will close down soon, unless someone speaks to the government. They must draw a clear distinction between discotheques, dance bars and other venues, she urges.

“Contract and property laws state that it is the owner’s responsibility to lease or rent out a space with all legal documents, including the OC,” she says.  

'No compromise on noise’

“No one has the right to disturb anybody with loud music at late night hours. I have been requesting Resident Welfare Associations to form a joint team to monitor sound levels on Saturday. They have turned down the offer. They only want to get the venues shut and hope that will de-commercialise Indiranagar.”   

Akshat Prasad, Owner of Vapour Pub and Brewery

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Live music debate gets more polyphonic


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